13 April 2010

Targeting unmet medical needs

A fresh impetus for researchers was provided by the conference “Biophotonics – Photonic Solutions for Better Health Care“, which took place from April 12 to 16 as part of Photonics Europe in Brussels. For the first time, the oral program featured not only premium-class talks on the latest technologic advances in the field, but also a dedicated medical session entitled “Towards a Better Health Care: Unmet Medical Needs“. The European Network of Excellence “photonics4life” had invited renowned physicians to unravel challenges in various medical fields, ranging from oncology to infectious diseases, and to state their expectations on user-oriented optical solutions.

“Time matters“, was the clear message of Prof. Michael Bauer (Univ. Hospital Jena, Germany) who spoke on diagnostic needs in the field of sepsis. In order to avoid mortal cases, the analysis time for pathogen identification must be reduced from currently about 36 hours to about 30 minutes after onset of sepsis. Not only the pathogen must be reliably identified but also resistances and host responses must be determined. This means that blood-culture based procedures must be replaced by photonic point-of-care solutions combined with PCR.

In the field of oncology, all speakers expected further major benefits from novel optical procedures for tumor diagnosis. Their potential for an early recognition and detailed description of tumors should be exploited further in order to promote less invasive, targeted therapies. Pathologist Prof. Axel Niendorf (Inst. for Diagnostic Histopathology, Germany) recommended that molecular diagnostics should be applied to complement rather than replace morphological assessment. Such multimodal approaches could provide major advances in tumor grading and enable individual therapy recommendations. Prof. Katarina Svanberg (Lund Univ., Sweden) and Prof. Alfonso Crisci (Univ. of Florence, Italy) emphasized the importance of in-vivo fluorescence diagnosis for improved therapies, e.g. by using it for a fast and reliable intraoperative delineation of tumors. The benefits of non-invasive optical biopsies in dermatology were approved by Prof. Daniela Massi (Univ. of Florence, Italy) and Prof. Hans Peter Berlien (Elisabeth Klinik, Germany). However, the available imaging and manipulation methods, e.g. the use of short laser pulses, and their effects should be studied further to allow their routine use in dermatology.

The session attracted big interest so that Photonics4Life coordinator Juergen Popp judges it as a successful step towards a closer cooperation of users and developers, and plans to present similar formats in upcoming conferences. With activities like this, the P4L network aims to close the gap between users and developers of Biophotonics solutions. According to experts, this gap is the most important bottleneck to further advances in the field.

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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5th International Conference on Biophotonics

20 March 2017

Continuing the success of the previous meetings held in Sacramento, Ottawa, Jena, and Florence, the 5th conference will come to Perth, Western Australia, running over two full days, and back-to-back with the Science on the Swan medical research conference, which delegates are strongly encouraged to also attend, at discounted rates. [more]

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