Image: A multimodal laser scanner can peer deep into the body (Photo courtesy of TAYS)
A new scanner that uses multi-wavelength lasers can provide detailed information to determine stage and grade of bladder cancer tumors.
The European advanced multimodal photonics laser imaging tool for urothelial diagnosis in endoscopy (AMPLITUDE) scanner project, coordinated by Tampere University Hospital (TAYS; Finland), includes specialists from across the continent, including the Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies (AIPT; United Kingdom), Ampliconyx Oy (Tampere, Finland). The project combines medical and physics expertise to develop a new multi-modal imaging system complete with an endoscopic probe that delivers an instant diagnosis in the clinical setting.
The system works by using infrared (IR) light to visualize deep inside the tissue, allowing scientists to peer into 'biological windows’ where light penetration increases in depth. The multimodal approach (combining confocal and non-linear imaging techniques) is designed to explore the so-called third biological window (1550–1870 nanometer range), that up to now has required a supercontinuum laser source, which is extremely expensive. The lasers that will be developed by AMPLITUDE will use ultrafast fibers at 1700 nm, enhanced by additional output at 850 nm using second harmonic generation from an integrated laser device.
“A societal challenge for the next few decades is the instant diagnosis of major diseases. Photonics provides excellent opportunities to give healthcare professionals advanced, non-invasive diagnostics that detect symptoms and diseases at an early stage,” said Regina Gumenyuk, PhD, project coordinator at TAYS. “This means we can avoid using ﬂuorophores and their phototoxic effects which can sometimes damage cells. A reduction in the phototoxicity during autofluorescence imaging will minimize cell damage.”
Current tests for bladder cancer involve urinalysis, urine cytology, or urine tests for tumor markers, which reflect chromosomal changes in the protein NMP22. While all of these tests can find cancerous cells in the urine, they do not detect the disease in its early stages, and sometimes the tests can miss biomarkers altogether.
Tampere University Hospital
Aston Institute of Photonic Technologies