Scientists have created a new technology for visualization of what cells are eating, which could help diagnose and treat cancer like cancer.
Researchers from the University of Edinburgh have developed chemical probes that illuminate when they bind to specific molecules that eat cells, such as glucose.
The team then embarked on an experiment using transparent fish embryos that enabled them to observe habits in the diet of cells.
They used a microscope to watch glucose-consuming cells in live zeros.
Researchers have found that the technique also worked with human cells growing in the lab.
The team believes that new technology could help to detect tiny changes in dietary habits in cells in the body, which will make it possible for diseases to last before.
All cells rely on glucose and other survival molecules, and changes in eating habits may be a sign of disease.
Scientists believe that their new method of imaging could adapt to the search for other molecules that are important to health and illness.
Physicians can also use monitoring technology as patients respond to treatment by tracking molecules that eat healthy and diseased cells.
Marc Vendrell, a senior lecturer in biomedical photography at the University of Edinburgh, said: "We have very few methods to measure what cells are eating to produce energy, what we know as cell metabolism.
"Our technology allows us to simultaneously detect multiple metabolites in living cells by a simple microscope.
"This is a very important advance to understanding the metabolism of the affected cells and we hope to help develop better therapies."
The study was published in the journal Angewandte Chemie.