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!
Biocompatible 3-D tracking system has potential to improve robot-assisted surgery
17.02.2017 | Children's National Health System
Real-time MRI analysis powered by supercomputers
17.02.2017 | University of Texas at Austin, Texas Advanced Computing Center
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
20.02.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine
20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine