Programs Aimed to Improve OCT Imaging Techniques Could Revolutionize Diagnosis of Cancer

Imagine Optic, a French developer of wavefront sensors and optical measurement equipment, is to lead a consortium committed to finding new applications for adaptive optics in bioimaging. The MICADO (Microscopy improved with Adaptive Optics) consortium is a 3-year project bringing together France's leading neuroscience and cellular imaging experts.

Financed by France's national research agency ANR, the consortium aims to improve the resolution of optical coherence tomography (OCT) and multi-photon (2-photon, third harmonic etc.) microscopes, and so meet the growing need for in vivo deep tissue imaging in neurology and biopsy.

Adaptive optics is said to provide the wavefront analysis and correction ability needed to compensate for the wide-ranging specimen-induced distortions and aberrations that can prevent biologists from capturing clear images, according to Imagine Optic.

A new wavefront sensor called an optical coherence interferometer will be developed by the consortium, enabling differentiation between light reflected back by a target and errant reflections that confuse other devices. The result should be improved image quality at depths of several hundred microns without tissue damage.

The OMICRON project will last two years and focus on development of an in vivo imaging probe that will use OCT to obtain high-resolution subsurface images of cancerous tissue, operating at the new untried wavelength of 1 £gm.

Other partners in OMICRON are the University of Cardiff, Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, semiconductor specialist Kamelian and medical imaging developer Tactiq.

OCT scanning could reduce the dependence on biopsies, and so speed up diagnosis and treatment, according to the consortium. Images acquired at 1 £gm promise improved contrast and resolution, helping clinicians distinguish between healthy and cancerous tissue.

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