Narrator: This is Science Today. A technique called soft x-ray tomography that offers a three-dimensional view into the structure of cells has great potential in the field of drug development. Gerry McDermott, a research biophysicist at the University of California, San Francisco, explains.
McDermott: The significance is that when companies or academics are testing new drugs, in the past they've not really had a technique where they could see the effects of the drugs at the cellular level in the same way that a patient being treated for a tumor in their kidneys. If you do a CT scan, you can watch and quantify the tumor shrinking the same way we can treat cells with candidate drugs, potential drugs and look at changes being reversed at the cellular level — at the organelle level, rather than the organ level in humans.
Narrator: McDermott and his colleagues are using soft x-ray tomography to conduct biochemical research at the National Center for X-ray Tomography at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.