New Imaging Technology To Allow Multiplexing

Researchers from two universities in Germany and the USA have developed new medical imaging technology that could have a far-reaching impact.

Phys.org reported on the work conducted jointly by a team of researchers from Helmholtz Zentrum München and the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), which will allow medical professionals to monitor multiple parameters in patients at the same time using a technique known as multiplexing.

The new imaging tools will allow non-invasive imaging of distinct structures within the body, such as blood vessels, and utilise technology that’s used in other sectors, such as defense and astronomy.

Oliver Bruns, a biochemist in Munich, and Ellen Sletten, a chemist in LA, have been looking at the use of short wave infrared imaging (SWIR imaging). They have also designed and synthesised new dyes and developed a new SWIR imaging configuration to enable them to capture multicolour movies in real time.

They have been able to successfully capture images that distinguish lymph vessels from veins and arteries.

Mr Bruns said that now they have proven the technique in mice, the next step is to establish how it can be introduced in clinical settings.

“A clear potential application is in intraoperative imaging. Of course, a lot of work is required to see what is the actual operation that will benefit from SWIR but the ability to distinguish structures in multiple colours now makes this tool a potential candidate for tumor resection” he stated.

Earlier this month, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) highlighted how important medical imaging is in the treatment of cancer, noting that the development of techniques such as MRI, CT, PET and SPECT scans have all been important to aiding clinical decision making.

Could this new use of SWIR imaging also become a tool that clinicians can use to help diagnose and treat patients not only with cancer, but with other medical conditions too?

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