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Cancer, heart disease, HIV, malaria are targets of new research presented at SPIE Photonics West

10 February 2012

BELLINGHAM, Washington, USA -- Advances in new photonics-based diagnostics and treatments with applications for cancer, heart disease, malaria, HIV infection, and other conditions were announced in papers presented at SPIE Photonics West in San Francisco last month.

Among presentations on biomedical optics advances:

Guillermo Tearney  of Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) reported on new applications of cardiovascular imaging that are changing the views of the medical community on the cause and effect relation between plaque and thrombosis that can lead to heart attack. New findings show that some indicators previously associated with tissue damage are instead connected to tissue regeneration, Tearney said. MGH used a system combining two imaging methods, optical coherence tomography (OCT) and near-IR fluorescence imaging (NIRF), in their research. ("Cardiovascular pathology," 8207E-78.)

Work in optogenetics (a combination of genetic and optical methods to stimulate functions in specific cells) led by  Karl Deisseroth of Stanford University is contributing to development of new tools for  real-time study and treatment of conditions such as anxiety, autism, narcolepsy, and Parkinson's disease. Optogenetic methods enable control of cell function as well as providing information about the tissue, and allow much greater precision than electrical stimulation. ("Advances in optogenetics," 8220-22.)

Warren Warren of Duke University reported on a new laser-based imaging system expected to enable more accurate results in melanoma diagnosis, with significant potential to reduce healthcare costs and improve the patient's outcome. Warren's work involves two-color pump-probe imaging of tissue samples that yields more accurate high-resolution information than current systems provide. ("Pump-probe imaging of melanoma," 8220-7.)

Stefan Hell of Max-Planck-Institut für biophysikalische Chemie of described a new method for obtaining images that show changes over time in living organs and other tissues, with important applications in heart and brain disease as well as HIV infection.  The method employs stimulated emission depletion microscopy (STED) and provides molecule-scale resolution with visible light. ("Nanoscopy with focused light," 8228-23.)

A team led by Aydogan Ozcan at the University of California, Los Angeles, has developed a portable microscope that uses a cell phone as a wireless platform for transmitting medical data. The system has particularly important applications in remote areas, for diagnosing conditions such as malaria. Using holographic imaging, the method is capable of providing 1-2 micron resolution over a wide field provided by the CMOS imaging array. ("Lensless microscopy and sensing on a chip," 8212-19).

More than 4,250 papers were presented at Photonics West. Accepted manuscripts will be published in the SPIE Digital Library as soon as each is approved.

Daily reports and photos from the meeting are posted at http://spie.org/PWnews.

Video presentations from the BiOS hot topics session and interviews from the event are posted at http://spie.org/PW12videos.

For more on SPIE Photonics West, visit http://SPIE.org/photonics-west.xml.

SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 180,000 constituents from 168 countries, the Society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth. SPIE annually organizes and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. SPIE provided over $2.5 million in support of education and outreach programs in 2011. The SPIE Digital Library includes over 325,000 items from Proceedings of SPIE, SPIE Journals, and SPIE eBooks.

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