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Night Vision Sees a New Enemy

Researchers are using night vision technology to tackle a new foe—the side effects of cancer treatment. Through a partnership with the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) four universities are developing a radiation-free imaging system that could help clinicians spot damage to the lymphatic system caused by treatments before symptoms arise. Early diagnosis could allow doctors to put patients on a therapy that doesn’t cause such severe symptoms (e.g., limb swelling and tissue fibrosis) from lymphedemia.  

The technology uses microdoses of fluorescent, nonradioactive dyes that move through the lymphatic system and are watched via infrared cameras. The camera shows light emission through the skin, providing insight on valve behavior and flow dynamics.
 

As part of the collaboration, Baylor College of Medicine (Houston) and Texas A&M University (College Station) signed an agreement with UTHealth to consolidate the product portfolio and make it available for commercial development. Purdue University (West Lafayette, IN) was also involved.
 

“This agreement provides a great example of academic institutions working together to bundle IP around innovative technology,” says Bruce Butler, PhD, vice president of research and technology at UTHealth. “We look forward to working with a commercial partner to get this technology into a clinic.” The imaging system is being studied in FDA clinical trials.

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