1. ‘OMICRON’ collaboration announces OCT images at 1 micron

    ‘OMICRON’ collaboration announces OCT images at 1 micron

    OMICRON, a UK government sponsored collaboration, led by UK optical imaging company Michelson Diagnostics (MDL), has produced its first Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) images at the new wavelength of 1 micron, providing improved resolution and contrast.

    To date, most imaging of skin tissue has been done at the longer wavelength of 1.3 µm. The shorter wavelength of 1 µm requires development of new laser and optical technology.

    Leading OCT researcher Professor Wolfgang Drexler, Director of Research at the University of Cardiff School of Optometry and Vision Science, said "We believe that images acquired at 1µm wavelength will offer improved contrast and resolution that will help clinicians to distinguish between healthy and cancerous tissue".

    The initial images of healthy skin tissue, obtained with an MDL OCT Microscope converted to 1 µm, appear to support this view. Features such as capillaries and the boundaries between tissue layers are more clearly defined.

    Further work in 2009 will concentrate on increasing the laser power, for more depth penetration, and on evaluating and analysing images of cancerous tissue taken with the new probe.

    The collaboration is between MDL, University of Cardiff, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, National Physical Laboratory, semiconductor specialist Kamelian and medical imaging systems specialist Tactiq.

    The project, funded in 2007 by the UK’s Technology Strategy Board, is titled ‘OMICRON’, and is focused on development of an in-vivo imaging probe, using OCT, to obtain high resolution sub-surface images of cancerous tissue, operating at the new, untried wavelength of 1µm.

    Clinicians frequently take biopsy samples of tissue for laboratory analysis by pathologists when diagnosing, assessing, treating and monitoring cancer. This can be inefficient, expensive and time-consuming. The biopsy may be poorly targeted on the tumour, and results from the analysis can take weeks to come back.

    Dr Nick Stone, Head of Biophotonics at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, added "OCT scanning has the exciting potential of both guiding and reducing the dependence on biopsies, which could speed up cancer diagnosis and treatment, reducing the pressure on overloaded pathology departments, and improve outcomes from cancer surgery".

    For further information and press enquiries contact: Jon Holmes, Chief Executive Officer, Michelson Diagnostics Ltd, 11A Grays Farm Production Village, Orpington, Kent, BR5 3BD, UK. Jon.Holmes@md-ltd.co.uk

    Michelson Diagnostics Ltd
    Michelson Diagnostics Ltd is the UK’s leading independent manufacturer and developer of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) medical imaging equipment. Founded in 2006, it is based in SE London, UK. The company has developed a highly innovative ‘multi-beam’ OCT technology which delivers higher resolution, greater contrast images.
    www.michelsondiagnostics.co.uk

    Cardiff University – Biomedical Imaging Group
    Wolfgang Drexler is a Link Chair Professor of Biomedical Imaging and Head of the Biomedical Imaging.  Group at the School of Optometry and Vision Sciences at Cardiff University, Wales, UK. This group’s research plans involve multidisciplinary research collaborations across a wide range of disciplines to develop in vivo three-dimensional subcellular, molecular and functional imaging technology that is of significant diagnostic value.
    http://www.cf.ac.uk/optom/contactsandpeople/academicstaff/drexler-wolfgang-prof-overview.html
    http://www.cf.ac.uk/optom/research/researchgroups/biomedicalimaging/index.html

    Gloucester Royal Hospital
    The Biophotonics Research Unit at Gloucester Royal Hospital, led by Dr Nick Stone, have been pioneering the clinical use of light for both treatment and diagnosis of early cancers. Numerous early cancers have been studied using optical diagnostic techniques including OCT (at 1300 nm), and the complimentary spectroscopies of Raman and FTIR. The greatest strength is working at the clinical interface with multidisciplinary teams made up of surgeons, scientists and pathologists.

    NPL is the United Kingdom's national standards laboratory, an internationally respected and independent centre of excellence in research, development and knowledge transfer in measurement and materials science. For more than a century we have developed and maintained the nation's primary measurement standards - the heart of an infrastructure designed to ensure accuracy, consistency and innovation in physical measurement.
    www.npl.co.uk

    Kamelian products are marketed by Amphotonix, which specialises in the design and manufacture of advanced III-V photonic components focussing on semiconductor optical amplifiers (SOAs) and broadband light sources (SLDs).
    www.kamelian.com

    Tactiq is an ISO13485 embedded systems product development consultancy offering systems, software, electronics and user interface development services for demanding applications to clients ranging from small technology companies to global blue chip corporations. One area of specialist knowledge is in medical imaging systems ranging from gamma rays to visible light. Tactiq’s expertise and partnership approach dramatically reduce the risk of product innovation for it’s clients.
    www.tactiq.co.uk

    UK Technology Strategy Board
    This project is co-funded by the Technology Strategy Board's Collaborative Research and Development programme, following an open competition. The Technology Strategy Board is an executive body established by the Government to drive innovation. It promotes and invests in research, development and the exploitation of science, technology and new ideas for the benefit of business - increasing sustainable economic growth in the UK and improving quality of life.
    www.innovateuk.org

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