Increasing the impact of light-based medicine

Light-based techniques have not had as profound an impact on medicine as approaches using other forms of energy, like x-ray, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and positron emission tomography (PET)—and even chemical tests—explains Robert R. Alfano, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor at the City College of the City University of New York.

And yet, "light offers greater potential than electrons, x-rays and nuclear energy," says Alfano, a key advisor for Strategies in Biophotonics and a featured speaker at the inaugural event in Boston next month (September 9-11, 2014). "There is a lot of R&D in the use of light in biomedical areas; however, very limited commercialization."

But an emphasis on commercialization is growing, as evidenced by increasing development of biophotonics-based clinical systems (see the 2014 Medical Design Excellence Awards report), expanded application of currently successful methods (like OCT in dentistry), coverage in the media and in events (for instance, the 2014 BiOS Translational Research virtual symposium), and the launch of Strategies in Biophotonics, the first-ever event dedicated to development and commercialization of optics-based biomedical products.

On Tuesday, August 12, at 2:30 ET, BioOptics World associate editor Lee Dubay will facilitate a live, interactive discussion (through Google Hangout) with Prof. Alfano and myself on relevant trends and how the Strategies in Biophotonics conference will address them. Please join us if you can—and for those who can't, we'll record the discussion and post it afterward.

"What is needed is translation of R&D into new commercially available medical tools for clinical use," says Alfano. "Hopefully, this conference will stimulate this goal."

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