BiOS/PHOTONICS WEST 2015: Translational Research award winners tackle clinical need

March 24, 2015
At the Translational Research Lunchtime Forum during Photonics West 2015's Biomedical Optics Symposium (BiOS), four research projects were recognized as having particularly high clinical potential.

At the Translational Research Lunchtime Forum during Photonics West 2015's Biomedical Optics Symposium (BiOS; February 7-12, San Francisco, CA), four research projects were recognized as having particularly high clinical potential. According to symposium co-chairs Bruce Tromberg of the University of California Irvine and Gabriela Apiou from the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston), the winners were selected from nearly 270 submissions for their focus on such issues as addressing unmet medical needs and showing definitive outcomes. "We want to ensure that young scientists can design and perform clinically relevant studies," said Apiou.

The winning entries were:

1. A smart bandage developed by postgraduate student Zongxi Li and colleagues at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine that uses phosphorescence stimulated by blue light to measure oxygen levels in wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers (DFUs), which affect ~6 million Americans annually, many of whom need amputations because oxygenated blood does not reach their wounds.1 Current treatment involves an invasive method with painful needle insertion. The bandage could "light up oxygen" with color change for easy monitoring, and also help predict the likelihood of DFUs.

2. A fiber-optic spinal probe, designed by postgraduate student Angela Kogler from Stony Brook University (NY), that has the potential to reduce injuries caused by surgical removal of nearby tumors. The probe uses differential spectroscopy to measure blood flow and oxygenation in the spine during surgery. Currently, these parameters are monitored by sending electrical impulses via the brain, a method fraught with limitations. Preliminary tests show accurate, sensitive results and fast response.

3. A laser-based method to deliver stem cells into the retina to treat macular degeneration and other sight-threatening eye diseases, by Ygal Rotenstreich, MD, from Israel's Sheba Medical Center.2

4. A lens-free microscope for high-throughput 3D tissue imaging that can be used to detect cancer or other cell-level abnormalities with the same accuracy as larger and more expensive optical microscopes.3 The invention, by Yibo Zhang and colleagues at UCLA, could lead to less expensive and more portable technology for performing common examinations, and may prove especially useful in remote areas and to quickly process large numbers of samples.

1. Z. Li et al., Biomed. Opt. Express, 5, 11, 3748–3764 (2014).

2. Y. Rotenstreich et al., Ophthalmic Technologies XXV, Proc. SPIE, 9307, 93071X (March 4, 2015); doi:10.1117/12.2078972.

3. A. Greenbaum et al., Sci. Transl. Med., 6, 267, 267ra175 (2014); doi:10.1126/scitranslmed.3009850.

About the Author

Barbara Gefvert | Editor-in-Chief, BioOptics World (2008-2020)

Barbara G. Gefvert has been a science and technology editor and writer since 1987, and served as editor in chief on multiple publications, including Sensors magazine for nearly a decade.

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