Healing with a laser touch

Lasers are providing a breakthrough in burn injury management

Published - November 19, 2017 12:06 am IST

Burn injuries are a major public health issue and their management is a key concern. Regular assessment of healing tissues is necessary but biopsies are painful and may hinder the healing process. Now, a group of Indian scientists have come up with a solution for easier assessment of healing progression, using laser light.

The process

Scientists at Manipal University in Karnataka have demonstrated the ability of the laser-induced fluorescence (LIF) technique to quantify the amount of collagen in healing tissues and thus analyse the recovery process: the more the collagen content, the healthier the tissue.

The strategy is to study biochemical changes by exploiting tissue fluorophores or chemical compounds that can re-emit light upon light excitation. Some of the most common fluorophores are collagen, elastin, amino acids (building blocks of proteins) such as tryptophan, phenylalanine and tyrosine that are responsible for tissue autofluorescence.

Researchers hit injured areas with a laser light of a particular wavelength and captured the emitted light in the range, generating a spectrum. For each region, multiple spectra are generated and averaged. This yields an image that correlates with the collagen content reflective of healthy repair. Based on this knowledge, scientists have proposed a simple technique to evaluate the progression of healing using a non-invasive, fast and an easy-to-use tool. The results have published in the journal, Lasers in Medical Science .

“With LIF we evaluated collagen synthesis and the healing process in vivo without sacrificing the animal. The evaluation using this technique takes only 15-20 seconds and is a biopsy free or non-invasive approach,” explains Prof. Krishna K. Mahato, who led the research team.

Preliminary studies on monitoring effectiveness of low power laser therapy (LPLT) in mice with burn wounds showed encouraging results. “LIF is sensitive and since it is an objective assessment, it doesn’t demand experienced operators and thus is user-friendly,” suggest the researchers.

“We have promising results in tissue samples from burn patients and with further analyses and studies, we hope to have this tool routinely used for patients in the near future,” Prof. Mahato told India Science Wire. — India Science Wire

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