Researchers at WorldCare Consortium™ member Massachusetts General Hospital team up with Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to develop nano-optic endoscopes
The diagnosis of diseases based in internal organs frequently relies on biopsy samples from the affected regions, but collecting such samples is often error-prone due to the fact that current endoscopic imaging techniques are unable to accurately visualize disease sites. Conventional optical elements in catheters used to access difficult-to-reach sites of the body are often prone to anomalies that inhibit the full capabilities of optical imaging.
Experts in endoscopic imaging at WorldCare Consortium™ member Massachusetts General Hospital have teamed up with pioneers of flat metalens technology at the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences to develop a new class of endoscopic imaging catheters, named nano-optic endoscopes, that overcome limitations of current systems.
To demonstrate the imaging quality of the nano-optic endoscope, researchers imaged fruit flesh, swine and sheep airways and human lung tissue. They showed that the nano-optic endoscope can image deep into the tissue with markedly higher resolution than that of current imaging catheter designs. Images captured by the nano-optic endoscope clearly show cellular structures in fruit flesh, along with tissue layers and fine glands in the bronchial mucosa of swine and sheep. In human lung tissue, researchers clearly identified structures that correspond to fine, irregular glands indicating the presence of adenocarcinoma, the most prominent type of lung cancer.
“Clinical adoption of many cutting-edge endoscopic microscopy modalities has been hampered due to the difficulty of designing miniature catheters that achieve the same image quality as bulky desktop microscopes,” stated Melissa Suter, PhD, co-senior author of the paper and an assistant professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and WorldCare Consortium™ member Massachusetts General Hospital. “The use of nano-optic catheters that incorporate metalenses into their design will likely change the landscape of optical catheter design, resulting in a dramatic increase in the quality, resolution, and functionality of endoscopic microscopy. This will ultimately increase clinical utility by enabling more sophisticated assessment of cell and tissue microstructure in living patients.”
Journal Reference: Hamid Pahlevaninezhad, Mohammadreza Khorasaninejad, Yao-Wei Huang, Zhujun Shi, Lida P. Hariri, David C. Adams, Vivien Ding, Alexander Zhu, Cheng-Wei Qiu, Federico Capasso, Melissa J. Suter. Nano-optic endoscope for high-resolution optical coherence tomography in vivo. Nature Photonics, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41566-018-0224-2