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Slight Fluorescence Gives Hope For Recovery


Stomach ulcer not only aches, it also fluoresce. Russian researchers believe that the brighter the fluorescence is, the less chances the patient has to do without the operation.

Specialists of the Moscow Regional Scientific-Research Clinical Institute “MONIKI” named after M.F. Vladimirsky and the Chair of Biophysics, Russian State Medical University, have developed a fiber-optic spectrum analyzer that allows to measure intensity of fluorescence from the surface of the gastrointestinal tract ulcers in the course of laser therapy. Fluorescence intensity allows to foresee how successful the treatment would be and to select the most optimal irradiation conditions.

About 40 years ago, low intensity laser irradiation started to be applied for inflammatory diseases therapy. Multiple diseases are accompanied by increase of content of complex organic molecules – porphyrins – in the cells. These molecules are extremely sensitive to the red component of spectrum, therefore, the tissues with high content of porphyrins become targets to laser irradiation, which, in its turn, activates defense functions and the cell division process.

These effects account for therapeutic action of low-intensity laser irradiation: accelerated wound healing and inflammatory processes therapy. The tissues containing porphyrins glow upon irradiation, and fluorescence intensity depends on the quantity of porphyrins. The Moscow specialists compared the data on porphyrin content in the area of ulcer with the laser therapy efficiency.

All experiments were carried out in the “MONIKI” named after M.F. Vladimirsky on the basis of specially established laser diagnostics room. The helium-neon laser was used as radiation source. The group under observation included 192 patients with protractedly nonhealing ulcers. Each of the patients was provided with 7 to 10 laser therapy seances, in the course of them the researchers checked porphyrins’ efficiency and spectum of fluorescence on the surface of affected and healthy tissues adjacent to them.

To this end, during the scheduled endoscopic examination the spectrum analyzer optical fiber was passed through the biopsy canal and brought to the examined section.

With the majority of patients, fluorescence was distinctly noticeable in the area of ulcer even prior to the beginning of the course of treatment. Its spectrum has a typical shape and differs from the fluorescence spectrum when ulcer has already turned to cancer. As the patients undertook the laser therapy course, the signal weakened. With the recovered patients, the spectra of fluorescence from the area of pathology and from healthy tissues coincided by the end of the course.

Laser therapy is considered successful when the ulcer heals up completely and does not disturb the patient for at least three years. Unfortunately, this does not always happen. With some patients, relapses occur earlier, and sometimes physicians fail to cure ulser and the patients have to be forwarded to operation. It has turned out that the result of treatment is directly tied up with intensity of fluorescence of affected tissues. The more intense the fluorescence is, the less hope exists for successful laser cure of ulcer.

In other words, depending on the content of porphyrins in the wound (ulcer) material, laser irradiation causes either medicinal effect or overdosage effect. Apparently, the excess of porphyrins makes tissues not simply sensitive, but over-susceptible to laser action.

Probably, laser therapy could help such patients but commonly accepted radiation doses do not suit them. The optimal dose should be selected individually, and this can be done, according to researchers’ opinion, based on spectra of porphyrins’ fluorescence.

Sergey Komarov | alfa
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