13 May 2013

A New Look Inside the Body – Better Communication in Biophotonics

Over the last years optical technologies have become a vital tool for innovating clinical diagnostics and are thus opening markets for photonics. Technologies like second harmonic generation or two-photon microscopy give new insights into abnormal changes in human morphology and can thereby often identify diseases better than techniques that don’t employ light. Endoscopy is the method of choice to bring the beneficial properties of light into the human body. However the knowledge about the clinician’s requirements and the capability of photonic techniques and technologies that can be used through endoscopic devices need to be improved. In addition, the transfer of scientific knowledge into components and systems with new or improved properties and finally industrial products that target real requirements needs to be further facilitated.

An impetus for better communication across disciplines provides the workshop "Visions for Future Diagnostics," on the subject of endoscopy held in Munich on 15 May 2013. As part of the world's leading trade fair for optical technologies, LASER World of PHOTONICS, six recognized experts on the topic, including representatives of industry and the various scientific disciplines, meet on a forum especially established for Biophotonics. The main aim of this workshop is to demonstrate how the barriers between biomedical end-users and technology and method developers can be overcome. In the exemplary workshop doctors will initiate the discussion by identifying their requirements and thereby specifying the direction of development in Biophotonics. In particular, they will give specific parameters to the researchers and manufacturers, which in return continue to address the system and component developers. This way the participants show how jointly a targeted and coordinated research and development along the value chain can take up the fight against diseases like cancer for the years to be.

"Although often invoked the necessary interdisciplinarity is so far not lived enough in practice" says Prof. Jürgen Popp, founder of the workshops and scientific director of the Jena Institute of Photonic Technology and Director of the Institute of Physical Chemistry at the University of Jena. To promote exchange in the complex field, both on national and European level initiatives such as the EU Network of Excellence "Photonics4Life" or the Biophotonics research program of the BMBF are active. As part of the fair exhibition the Biophotonics research program presents successful Biophotonics projects from Germany, including a device for rapid detection of pathogens in hospitals and a new scanner for melanoma.

Round Robin Experiment

Raman spectroscopy has already proved its effectiveness in many cases for medical diagnostics such as for cancer, cardiovascular diseases and infections. However, there are no standards in the different working groups, e.g. for sample preparation, implementation of the Raman experiments, spectra pre-treatment, data evaluation, etc.In a round robin experiment, the required groundwork will take place in order to define standardised Raman measurement methods, which will be fundamental for establishing Raman spectroscopy for clinical diagnostic procedures.

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