To meet the growing needs to examine much larger tissue samples, researchers at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland has developed the 70cm mesolens, with its 8cm diameter, the only device in the world which will be able to capture details in organisms which are too big to be examined, in just a second to improve the development of new drugs.

It has two large electrically controlled mirrors focus a laser beam to examine tissues such as the cortex of the brain or tumors. It could play a vital role in identifying new treatments for diseases such as cancer.

Its resolution is 1,000 times finer than nuclear magnetic resonance microscopes currently used; allowing it to see detail in images just 500 nanometres across when examining specimens measuring 6mm.

For example, it can show an entire mouse embryo while observing cells and tissues without losing a sense of depth. According to the Researcher Dr Brad Amos, ‘This level of detail can open up vast possibilities for discoveries which can contribute to the fight against disease worldwide.’

Dr Amos, who is also Emeritus Research Group Leader in the Medical Research Council (MRC) Laboratory of Molecular Biology and a Fellow of the Royal Society, said: "The global health challenges of the 21st century demand new and powerful treatments but the process of drug discovery and delivery is often time-consuming and costly.

Dr Gail McConnell, a Reader at the Strathclyde Institute said "Our research fits with Strathclyde's ethos of technical innovation with universal impact. We already have the two-dimensional technology for the lens in place, but a third dimension will allow us to take the revolutionary step of presenting images with a range and versatility which no single imaging platform can currently offer."

Sample Image
The mesolens produced this image of a human flea