A new study of breast cancer survivors may help physicians ease a common side effect of cancer treatments. The collaborative research by Eva Sevick, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Molecular Imaging at the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston (UTHSC), and Caroline Fife, M.D., Director of the Memorial Herman Wound Care Clinic at UTHSC, could bring relief to millions.
Their paper appears in the inaugural issue of Biomedical Optics Express, an online, open-access journal published by the Optical Society (OSA). The papers featured in the journal will encompass theoretical modeling and simulations, technology development, biomedical studies and clinical applications.
A substantial number of breast cancer survivors suffer from lymphedema in the aftermath of their cancer surgeries. In lymphedema, fluids accumulate in the arms, potentially causing disfiguring and debilitating swelling that can impact quality of life.
Treatments vary, but they generally consist of using manual and pneumatic therapies to "push" or stimulate the body to remove excess fluid and reduce tissue swelling. Finding out whether a treatment is working can take months. That's because the current method of assessing progress is to measure the circumference or volume of a limb and check for changes in swelling -- and a size change big enough to be measured takes time.
During this time, the condition might improve – or it might worsen.
The UTHSC research team has developed what promises to be a more sensitive and more immediate way to monitor the effectiveness of a treatment. Their new near-infrared fluorescence imaging technique examines the root cause of lymphedema: blockages or damages in the lymphatic system that prevent fluid from circulating through the body and cause it to pool in the limbs.
"The lymphatics are like the sewer system of your body," says Sevick. "If they get all plugged up, then there’s a flood."
Nine women – six with lymphedema and three controls – were injected with a near-infrared fluorescent dye that has been used safely for 50 years at much higher dosages. The dye is taken up by the lymphatic system. When tissue surfaces are exposed to a dim, near-infrared laser – harmless to the human body – the dye within fluoresces, revealing its transit through the lymphatic system.
"This is the only method that can directly check for improvements in lymphatic function in one sitting, before and after a treatment," says Sevick.
Physicians have several treatment options for controlling lymphedema. They may use compression bandages and massage limbs to manually encourage fluids to drain from the arm. Pneumatic compression devices, sleeves made of segmented chambers that inflate and squeeze, may provide a similar benefit at home, but they may not always be covered by Medicare reimbursements because of lacking direct evidence of their benefit.
"The problem is that there has been no good way to measure direct evidence of benefit," says Sevick. "Hopefully we can use near-infrared fluorescence imaging technique to show improved lymphatic function from these treatments."
The NIR fluorescence technique detected statistically significant improvements in fluid flow through the lymphatic system immediately after the use of pneumatic compression devices. A larger follow-up study will be needed to confirm the results of this pilot study, says Sevick.
The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health and by Tactile Systems Technology, Inc., which manufactures and markets the Flexitouch pneumatic compression devices tested in this research.
The paper "Direct evidence of lymphatic function improvement after advanced pneumatic compression device treatment of lymphedema" by Kristen E. Adams et al. can be accessed at: http://www.opticsinfobase.org/boe/abstract.cfm?uri=boe-1-1-114
Uniting more than 106,000 professionals from 134 countries, the Optical Society (OSA) brings together the global optics community through its programs and initiatives. Since 1916 OSA has worked to advance the common interests of the field, providing educational resources to the scientists, engineers and business leaders who work in the field by promoting the science of light and the advanced technologies made possible by optics and photonics. OSA publications, events, technical groups and programs foster optics knowledge and scientific collaboration among all those with an interest in optics and photonics.
Lyndsay Basista | EurekAlert!
PET identifies which prostate cancer patients can benefit from salvage radiation treatment
05.12.2017 | Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Designing a golden nanopill
01.12.2017 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center
DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.
Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
07.12.2017 | Event News
15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences
15.12.2017 | Life Sciences