Looking Ahead with Optical Imaging
Skin Comfort, a project driven by a consortium consisting of Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Centre (RUNMC) (Nijmegen, the Netherlands) and a group of corporate partners, is intriguing on many fronts. A joint venture of academia and industry that uses nondestructive, non-invasive imaging technology to help us better understand the response of skin to a variety of processes – physical, chemical, and immunological – that we cannot now “see” in real time. The opportunities here are limitless.
Optical imaging has undergone a resurgence with the advances being made in both confocal microscopy and optical coherence microscopy (OCT). Here in the US, the leading company for confocal microscopy is Lucid (http://www.lucid-tech.com), while OCT for cutaneous examination is led by Michelson Diagnostics (http://www.michelsondiagnostics.com), a UK based company with a US subsidiary.
Combining the half-millimeter cellular imaging of confocal microscopy with the 2 mm supracellular exam of OCT will allow even better imaging, with applications ranging from in vivo diagnosis to margin mapping of skin cancer, a project we are working on in my institution. Both also allow a chance to see what various treatment modalities for a variety of skin diseases, including wounds, do in a non-invasive manner. I would not be surprised if every major vendor or wound care projects is not performing research with both of these technologies in the next few years. My pie in the sky prediction is that these “Wow!” technologies will be in everyone’s armamentarium in a few years.
Disclosure: Dr. Siegel is involved in research with Michelson Diagnostics and hold options in that company.