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Photoacoustic Technology May Revolutionize Cancer Research

By Labmedica International staff writers
Posted on 13 Apr 2011
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Innovative technology that combines the sensitivity of optical imaging with the resolution and depth penetration of high-frequency ultrasound will enable researchers to study cancer in its earliest stages of progression and evaluate tumor growth and the effect that potential drugs have on that growth.

The VisualSonics Inc. (Toronto, Canada) Vevo LAZR uses a laser to shoot pulses of light through the skin into tissue and cells beneath the surface. The absorbed laser energy is then converted into heat, producing an ultrasonic emission, which can be captured and turned into images using a specially adapted high frequency ultrasonic probe. VisualSonics is a wholly owned subsidiary of SonoSite Inc. (Seattle, WA, USA).

The key to this novel approach is the capability of a wide range of biological materials to absorb laser light. Specific tissue components including oxyhemoglobin, deoxyhemoglobin, melanin, and lipids all absorb laser energy, which is then converted into heat that produces an ultrasonic emission that can be captured and turned into images using a specially adapted high frequency ultrasonic probe.

Applications for the Vevo LAZR system range from lymph node imaging to the study of hemoglobin and oxygen saturation and the targeted imaging of tumor biomarkers. In addition to cancer biology, this innovative technology will benefit other areas of life science research such as diabetes, neurosciences, and developmental and reproductive biology.

"The Vevo LAZR photoacoustics system is a breakthrough in vivo imaging technology,” said Anil Amlani president and CEO of VisualSonics. "Advancements featured in this product will enable oncology researchers to accelerate their research into understanding of the inner workings of the cancerous cell and the host tissue in which it resides. The ability to conduct this microscopic level research in a living organism, noninvasively and in real time will help our customers to turn groundbreaking science into lifesaving care, at an even greater speed.”

"We believe that the Vevo LAZR system will have a strong impact on the discovery of new cancer therapies, more efficient testing of therapies with never-before-seen insights into cancer, and quantified measures of cancer progression, viewed from inside the tumor,” said Kevin M. Goodwin, president and CEO of SonoSite. "With the launch of Vevo LAZR technology, we continue to meet our commitment to our customers by providing imaging technologies needed to further tomorrow's research today.”

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VisualSonics Inc.
SonoSite Inc.



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