For more than a century scientists have been searching for noninvasive technologies to peer deep inside the human body by using light. With much interests, healthcare professionals involved in the management of patients with cancer, want to see inside the body because they are interested in understanding the numerous subtle and often invisible changes to the human DNA, proteins, cells, and tissue involved in altering the body’s normal biology.

For the first time, a team of researchers has developed a sophisticated new optical imaging tool that enables scientists to look deep within tumors and uncover their inner workings. This new technology may help oncologists in their fight against various forms of cancer. In experiments that will be described at theFrontiers in Optics (FiO), the annual meeting of theOptical Society’s (OSA)taking place October 6-10 in Orlando, Florida (USA), Dai Fukumura, M.D., Ph.D,Associate Professor of Radiation Oncology at Harvard Medical School and an Associate Biologist at the Edwin L. Steele Laboratory for Tumor Biology and his colleagues will present novel optical imaging techniques to track the movement of molecules, cells, and fluids within tumors.


This unique technique can image tumors inside and out and show detailed pictures of live tumors…


With this new technology, oncologist can examine abnormalities in the blood vessel network inside a cancer and observe how the tumors were affected by treatment.

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High-tech optical imaging
These techniques, created by Fukumura and his long-term collaborators at Massachusetts General Hospital(MGH) and Harvard Medical School, combine two different high-tech optical imaging methods that were custom-built for the research. One is called MultiPhoton Laser-Scanning Microscopyor MPLSM, which is an advanced fluorescence imaging technology that is now commercially available at the high end of the microscope market. The other technology is called Optical Frequency Domain Imaging or OFDI, which images tissues by their light scattering properties. According to Fukumura, OFDI is gaining popularity in the optical imaging field but has yet to become commercially available.

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Overcominglimitations
“MPLSM overcomes many of the limitations from which conventional microscopy and confocal microscopy suffer, and OFDI provides robust large volume imaging data,” Fukumura explained. As part of his presentation at the Frontiers in Optics (FiO) 2013 meeting,he will describe how his unique technique can image tumors inside and out, and show detailed pictures of live tumors?images that he and colleagues call truly astonishing.

Fukumuraadded that while the new combined approach would still be too expensive to be used for routine diagnostic purposes, it promises to help researchers better understand the intricate workings of human cancer and aid in drug discovery to treat cancer. “These optical imaging approaches can provide unprecedented insights in the biology and mechanisms of cancer,” he observed.

Presentation: FW5A.2
Title: Experimental Methods for In Vivo Tissue Imaging
Date and time: Wednesday, October 9 at 4:15 p.m. EDT
Location: Hilton Bonnet Creek, Orlando, Florida (Bonnet Creek Ballroom, Salon IV)

Photo 1: Seeing inside a tumor: anew imaging tool reveals strikingly different networks of blood vessels surrounding different types of tumors in a mouse model. Left: breast cancer in the breast. Middle: metastatic breast cancer in the brain. Right: ectopic breast cancer in the skin.Courtesy/credit:Nature MedicinePhoto 2: Atumor before (top, panel a) and five days after (bottom, panel b) anti-angiogenic treatment — a novel treatment approach by inhibiting blood vessel growth. Photo Courtesy/Credit:Nature Medicine

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