Virtual reality lets you stroll around a breast cancer cell

poster_cellarch_4kI feel like I’ve landed on an alien planet. I’m walking across the surface of a breast cancer cell as drug nanoparticles whizz past my head like spaceships. One of the particles suddenly crashes in front of me, and I teeter on the edge of an abyss as it is sucked through the surface. It feels real – and in a sense, it is.

The cell I am exploring in virtual reality is not a conceptual model. John McGhee of the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and his colleagues have used high-resolution electron-microscope data to reconstruct a real-life cancer cell from a human breast in three-dimensional CGI.

I take a tour of the cell’s interior, tiptoeing around the nucleus, mitochondria and endosomes while they gently bob in the liquid cytosol.

McGhee’s idea is that chemists and cell biologists can put on a virtual-reality headset and get a better feel for the minuscule environments they are researching and engineering. For instance, they can watch virtual simulations of the different ways in which nanoparticle drugs are gobbled up by cancer cells, potentially aiding the drug-design process.

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About Peter Coffaro 1148 Articles

A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 20 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. As a District Sales Manager for Stryker Orthopaedics, Peter was responsible for managing and directing a regional sales force to achieve sales and profit goals within the Rocky Mountain region. Previously, he was the Director of Sales & Marketing for Amp Orthopedics. In this role, Peter was responsible for planning, developing, and leading all sales and marketing initiatives. Peter is a former orthopedic distributor in the Pacific Northwest. He has also worked with DePuy Orthopaedics as well as Zimmer, and held positions in sales, sales training, and sales management. Peter has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, negotiating and P&L management. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology from Northern Illinois University.

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