25 May 2011

It's about people not devices!

Biophotonics links Science and industry

Optical technologies today play a vital role in medicine, we think of microscopes or X-ray machines. Rising life expectancy poses a challenge of new quality to society: in order to get a grip on the dramatically rising numbers of cases of cancer and infectious diseases such as sepsis, the transfer of knowledge between developers and users has to improve significantly.

An impetus for better communication across disciplines provides the workshop "Visions for Future Diagnostics," on the subject of oncology and infectious diseases held in Munich on 25 and 26 May 2011. As part of the world's leading trade fair for optical technologies, LASER World of PHOTONICS, eleven recognized experts on the topics, including representatives of industry and the various scientific disciplines, meet on a forum especially established for Biophotonics. Biophotonics is a promising research direction, which includes the application of light-based technologies to problems in medicine and life sciences, and is therefore operated by chemists, physicists, biologists and physicians alike. Among the technologies are advanced microscopy and spectroscopy techniques, but also the use of light in the form of lasers as a tool, be it in cell biology or in surgery.

In the exemplary workshops 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 cancer and infectious diseases for the years to be. "If the parties think only technology-focused, one easily loses sight of the goal and cancer no longer remains a problem of the patient, but of the microscope," says the Jena oncologist, Professor Andreas Stallmach, who on May 25 will speak for the doctors.

"Although often invoked the necessary interdisciplinarity is so far not lived enough in practice" says Prof. J├╝rgen 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.

Following the workshops (Wed. 05/25 oncology, Thurs 5.26 infectious diseases, 10.00am -12.30pm, Hall B1, Biophotonics forum), there is the opportunity for interviews with the speakers. The press accreditation for the LASER World of PHOTONICS is possilbe both online (http://www.world-of-photonics.net/de/laser/presse) and on-site at the press center.

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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