Researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a specialized microscope that has the potential to diagnose diseases that include skin cancer and perform extremely precise surgeries, all without cutting the skin.
The researchers describe the technology in a study published today at Scientific progress.
Our technology allows us to quickly scan tissues and when we see a suspected or abnormal cellular structure, we can perform ultra-precise surgery and selectively treat the unwanted or diseased structure within the tissue, without affecting the skin. "
Yimei Huang, co-lead author of the study and former postdoctoral colleague at the department of dermatology and skin sciences at UBC and BC Cancer
Huang co-directed the study with Zhenguo Wu, a UBC doctoral student.
The device is a specialized type of multiphoton excitation microscope that enables the imaging of living tissues up to about one millimeter in depth using an ultrafast infrared laser beam. What distinguishes the microscope of researchers from the previous technology is that it is able not only to digitize living tissue, but also to treat the tissue by intensifying the heat produced by the laser.
When applied to the treatment of skin diseases, the microscope allows medical professionals to identify the exact location of the anomaly, diagnose it and treat it immediately. It could be used to treat any body structure that is reached by light and that requires extremely precise treatment, including nerves or blood vessels in the skin, eyes, brain or other vital structures.
We can change the path of blood vessels without affecting any of the surrounding vessels or tissues. To diagnose and analyze diseases like skin cancer, this could be revolutionary. "
Harvey Lui, professor in the department of dermatology and skin sciences at UBC and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, and a dermatologist at BC Cancer
Researchers wanted to make the multiphoton microscope technology more versatile while increasing its accuracy.
"We wanted to be able to identify what was happening under the skin from different angles and to have the ability to imagine different body sites," said senior author Haishan Zeng, professor of dermatology, pathology and physics all & # 39; UBC and illustrious scientist with BC Cancer.
"Once we achieved this goal, we wondered if we could turn this diagnostic device into a treatment device simply by increasing the laser power."
The results have been incredibly exciting.
"We are not only the first to achieve rapid video imaging that allows clinical applications, but also the first to develop this technology for therapeutic uses," said Zeng.
The researchers collaborated with several UBC departments, including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and ophthalmology, to develop different versions of the technology. The exploration includes research on the development of a miniature version that could be used to perform microscopic examinations and treatment during endoscopy – a non-surgical procedure used to examine a person's digestive tract using an endoscope, a hose with a light and a camera connected to it.
University of British Columbia
Reference to the magazine:
Huang, Y. et al. (2019) Precise closure of single blood vessels by photothermolysis based on multiphoton absorption. Scientific progress. doi.org/10.1126/sciadv.aan9388
. (tagsToTranslate) Skin (t) Blood (t) Blood Vessels (t) Cancer (t) Cell (t) Dermatology (t) Imaging (t) Light (t) Research (t) Skin Cancer (t) Surgery