A Miniaturized Optical System for Combined Multiphoton Endoscopy and Ultrashort-Pulse Laser Micro-Nanosurgery

Life Sciences : Medical Devices

Available for licensing

Inventors

  • Adela Ben-Yakar, Ph.D. , Mechanical Engineering
  • Christopher Hoy , Mechanical Engineering
  • Olav Solgaard , Stanford University

Background/unmet need

According to the American Cancer Society, approximately 2.5 million cases of cancer were diagnosed in the US in 2007 (including basal and squamous cell epithelial cancers), of which 85% originated in the epithelial tissue layer. Diagnosis, early detection, and treatment of diseases at an early stage, where disease is still localized in the epithelial tissue layer, significantly reduce more serious health risks for patients.

To diagnose and treat these small precancerous lesions, physicians need a tool capable of imaging and microsurgery beneath the surface of tissue with cellular precision. For microsurgery, femtosecond lasers, such as those recently adopted by the LASIK community, offer the highest level of surgical precision and can ablate individual cells without harming surrounding cells and tissues. So far, no fiber-based femtosecond laser microsurgery probes exist because of the difficulty in transmitting the high peak laser intensities and preserving the ultrashort pulse width through optical fibers and miniature optics.

For imaging, recently demonstrated miniaturized multiphoton microscopy technologies are a viable option for the detection and treatment of early-stage diseased tissues because of their ability to image specific disease biomarkers deep within tissue. Typically, these technologies employ direct scanning of the beam, which limits their scanning angle and field of view (FOV), while also decreasing resolution, reducing excitation efficiency, and impairing collection of scattered light. As such, miniaturized microscopy technologies currently have a reduced ability to detect, treat, and image biological tissues in real time.

Invention Description

UT Austin researchers have achieved dramatic improvements in a miniaturized system that combines multiphoton microscopy and ultrashort-pulse laser micro-/nanosurgery for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases in biological tissues through a miniaturized probe. This system is designed with an optimized imaging field of view (FOV), resolution, and collection efficiency without the trade-offs normally encountered in miniaturized multiphoton fluorescent microscope designs.

These improvements are achieved by using an inexpensive miniature relay lens optical system between the scanning device and the imaging objective lens. A unique result of this design is that it allows for targeted delivery of higher-energy ultrashort pulses for combined ultrashort-pulse laser micro-/nanosurgery and multiphoton imaging. The resulting system is a tool for combined medical diagnosis and treatment of diseased tissues that can be utilized to investigate a variety of biological tissues throughout the body. Specifically, this tool would be capable of real-time diagnosis and removal of small cancerous lesions in skin, in body cavities, or intraoperatively.

Benefits/Advantages

  • Real-time miniaturized probe system for both imaging, detection, and ablation packaged in one device
  • Viable method for targeting neoplastic lesions without lengthy and invasive biopsy processing that is currently used
  • High-precision and minimally invasive medical tool
  • Maximized field of view (FOV) without degraded resolution over current miniaturized multiphoton imaging systems
  • Beam expansion system (small beam at scanner to minimize diffraction and loss; large beam at the back aperture of the objective lens to maximize resolution)
  • Provides precision ablation of targeted nanoscale structures and larger tissue regions
  • Greater resolution over conventional diagnostics (MRI, PET, CT, ultrasound, white-light endoscopy)

Features

  • Integrated, disposable miniaturized probe for both imaging and treatment
  • Miniaturized MEMS optical components
  • Relatively inexpensive, readily available components
  • High precision instrumentation with subcellular incision capabilities
  • Visualization of tissue structures with microscopic scale

Market potential/applications

Medical endoscopy devices, targeted at market segments that enable physicians to benefit from these improvements for multiphoton fluorescence imaging, detection and ablation of neoplasms and other lesions on epithelial surfaces. Specific market segment applications include dermal pathologies, pathologies of the larynx, oral cavity, cervix, and esophagus, not limited to cancer, and in-vivo biological research. Additional segments include commercial endoscope housings for colorectal, tracheal, GI, brain cavity, and esophageal applications, where very precise ablation is need to avoid damage to healthy tissue.

Development Stage

Lab/bench prototype

IP Status