21 March 2013

OCT: deeper views, enhanced ability to help

(Image: MIT.)
In a newsletter post today titled "OCT gets deep," Editor Mike Hatcher heralds some important developments for physicians and their patients:

"Optical coherence tomography (OCT) has come a long way since its early development at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). But there has always been one key limitation of the technique: its inability to image at depths of more than a couple of millimeters.

"But that now looks set to change, thanks to OCT systems based around lasers with tunable, narrow linewidths and long coherence lengths. So whereas physicians currently use OCT to look at just the retina, they could soon be using it to sweep through the entire structure of the eye.

"Clinical development of such systems will inevitably take time, but last week also saw a new OCT system for cardiovascular imaging launched in Japan. In combination with a non-optical technique, the system designed by St. Jude Medical uses OCT to offer heart surgeons an enhanced, three-dimensional view of the coronary arteries of their patients.

Rox Anderson, left, thanks his fellow biomedical optics
professionals for their work in helping meet health challenges,
as he and Jim Fujimoto open the Hot Topics session at SPIE
Photonics West in January 2013. (SPIE photo.)
"That technology has its roots very much in the MIT laboratory of OCT pioneer Jim Fujimoto, after St. Jude acquired the spin-out company LightLab Imaging a couple of years back.

"Now with the ability to image at much greater depths, the application potential of OCT looks set to enter a new dimension."

Rox Anderson of Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, who serves along with Fujimoto as symposium chair of Biomedical Optics at Photonics West, opened this year's Hot Topics session thanking the several hundreds of people in the audience for their work in applying biomedical optics "to help." This latest news is yet another example of that important work.

Want to know more? Hear about OCT applications and funding from Fujimoto, entrepreneur Eric Swanson, and researchers Melissa Suter (Massachusetts General Hospital) and Rainer Leitgeb (Medical University of Vienna) in a brief  brief SPIE Newsroom video.

And check out these presentations from several of this year's Hot Topics speakers:

  • Ernst Bamberg (Max Planck Institute)
  • Ben Potsaid (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
  • Dan Oron (Weizmann Institute of Science)
  • Jonathan Sorger (Intuitive Surgical, Inc)
  • Mathias Fink (Institut ESPCI, CNRS)
  • Joe Culver (Washington Univ. in St. Louis)

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