See-Through Mouse Brains Created; May Aid Medical ScansNational Geographic News, Brian Handwerk
Known as Scale, the new chemical makes body tissue so crystal clear that light can penetrate deeply enough for researchers to directly see fluorescent markers embedded in cells and other structures. This advance could unveil new frontiers in medical imaging, according to its creators. "Our current experiments are focused on the mouse brain, but applications are neither limited to mice nor to the brain," Atsushi Miyawaki, of Japan's RIKEN Brain Science Institute, said in a press statement. "We envision using Scale on other organs such as the heart, muscles, and kidneys and on tissues from primate and human biopsy samples." Paul Thompson, a neurologist at the UCLA School of Medicine who's unaffiliated with the research, said pictures of transparent organs and embryonic mice treated with Scale are incredible. "I've worked in brain imaging for 20 years, and seeing something like this really had a wow factor," he said.