Researchers come up with a new laser microscope that can be the ‘revolutionary’ for curing diseases such as skin cancer.
University of British Columbia researchers have invented a sophisticated microscope which has a possible capability to both diagnose illnesses which comprises skin cancer and executes accurate surgery – without the need of cutting skin.
The researchers demonstrate the technology in a finding published today in Science Advances, “Our technology allows us to scan tissue quickly, and when we see a suspicious or abnormal cell structure, we can perform ultra-precise surgery and selectively treat the unwanted or diseased structure within the tissue — without cutting into the skin,” said Yimei Huang, co-lead author of the study and a former postdoctoral fellow at the department of dermatology and skin science at UBC and BC Cancer.
Huang co-led the study with Zhenguo Wu, a UBC PhD student.
The tool is a specific kind of multiphoton excitation microscope which allows imaging of living tissue approximately one millimeter in depth utilizing an ultrafast infrared laser beam. What is different of the researcher’s microscope from previous technology is that it has the ability of not just digitally scanning living tissue, but additionally curing the tissue by increasing the heat supplied by the laser.
When implemented to treating disease of the skin, the microscope gives way for medical professionals to aim the specific location of the deformity, diagnose it and medicate it immediately. It can be utilized for treating any system of the body that is reached by light and it needs maximum and accurate treatment, incorporating nerves or blood vessels in the skin, eye, brain or other important structures.
“We can alter the pathway of blood vessels without impacting any of the surrounding vessels or tissues,” says study co-author Harvey Lui, professor at the department of dermatology and skin science at UBC and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, and a dermatologist at BC Cancer. “For diagnosing and scanning diseases like skin cancer, this could be revolutionary.”
The researchers desired to create multiphoton microscope technology more adaptable and at the same time increasing its accuracy.
“We wanted to be able to identify what was happening under the skin from many different angles and to have the capability of imaging different body sites,” adds the senior author Haishan Zeng, professor of dermatology, pathology and physics at UBC and distinguished scientist with BC Cancer. “Once we achieved that, we wondered whether we could transform this diagnostic device into a treatment device by simply turning up the power of the laser.”
The outcomes were unbelievably thrilling
“We are not only the first to achieve fast video-rate imaging that enables clinical applications, but also the first to develop this technology for therapeutic uses,” comments Zeng.
The researchers have collaborated with many UBC departments, inclusive of mechanical, engineering, electrical engineering and ophthalmology, to initiate different types of the technology. Exploration consists of research into the forming of a miniature version which can be used to carry out microscopic tests and treatment at the time of endoscopy – a non-surgical procedure that is utilized to inspect a person’s digestive tract with the help of endoscope, a flexible tube with a light and camera fastened to it.
These efforts were encouraged by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Key Basic Research Program of China, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Canadian Dermatology Foundation, the VGH & UBC Hospital Foundation and the BC Hydro Employees Community Services Fund.