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2008 Research Grant Recipients


Wangcun Jia, Ph.D.

Beckman Laser Institute – University of California

Irvine, CA

Supporting ASLMS Member

J. Stuart Nelson, M.D., Ph.D.

~ Recipient of ASLMS Funding in 2007 and 2008 ~

“A Novel Approach to Port Wine Stain Treatment, Year 2: Clinical Studies”

The proposed research process can be divided into two steps. First, Phase I clinical trials will be conducted on 9 PWS patients to verify that adverse effects are unlikely to occur with the MCS-MLP approach even when the total laser energy applied onto PWS skin is much higher as compared to SCS-SLP (Section D.1). Second, Phase II clinical trials will be conducted on 20 PWS patients to investigate systematically how much therapeutic efficacy can be improved using MCS-MLP with treatment parameters selected on the basis of infrared tomographic (IRT) characterization. By selecting MCS-MLP treatment parameters on an individual patient basis, we can achieve a substantial heat accumulation in the targeted PWS blood vessels while increasing the safety margin as compared to SCS-SLP. PWS blanching responses following IRT-guided MCS-MLP treatment will be compared with those on standard treatment (SCS-SLP) and baseline control values. The proposed comparison would be the first of its kind (Section D.2). One of our investigators, Dr. Nelson who has extensive experience in the clinical management of PWS patients (6-12,18, 22, 24, 29, 30, 40-47), will conduct the proposed IRB approved clinical studies. Subjects will be recruited from an outpatient population (~550) with PWS at BLIMC.


Cameron Riviere, Ph.D.

Carnegie Mellon University

Pittsburgh, PA

Supporting ASLMS Member

Roxana Barad, M.D.

~ Recipient of ASLMS Funding in 2007 and 2008 ~

“Semiautomated Intraocular Laser Surgery using Handheld Instruments: Year Two Funding”

The specific aims of this two-year project are to develop semiautomatic techniques for patterned panretinal photocoagulation and laser grid photocoagulation, and to demonstrate these techniques in a chick chorioallantoic membrane model in vivo, as described in the retinal surgery literature. The principal investigator has developed a fully handheld active micromanipulator for intraocular surgery. The instrument senses its own motion and activates its own tool tip to compensate the hand tremor of the surgeon. In this project, we propose to adapt this instrumentation for laser surgery by incorporating a flexible waveguide, and to develop control methods for the device so that it can perform a variety of types of retinal photocoagulation procedures in a semiautomatic mode.


Chris Schaffer, Ph.D.

Cornell University

Ithica, NY

Supporting ASLMS Member

R. Rox Anderson, M.D.

~ Recipient of ASLMS Funding in 2007 and 2008 ~

“Femtosecond Laser Ablation to Understand & Control Epilepsy: Year Two”

In this project, we will explore the use of femtosecond laser ablation to provide a precise tool for making depth-selective, sub-surface incisions in cortex, and determine how these cuts affect normal and epileptic brain activity. Nonlinear absorption of tightlyfocused, femtosecond duration, near -infrared laser pulse provides a tool to disrupt material in a micrometersizedv volume located in the bulk of the tissue. Essentially, the laser provides a very precise scalpel that can cut inside a tissue without affecting the surface. We propose to first determine the appropriate laser parameters to produce cuts at different depths in the cortex of rats, while preserving the overlying vasculature. We will then study how sub-surface cuts at varying depths in cortex affect the spread of epileptic activity as well as the normal response to sensory input in rats. These experiments will lead to a greater understanding of where cuts should be placed to control neocortical epilepsy and may lead to a more controlled, laser-based implementation of a promising epilepsy treatment.


James Tunnell, Ph.D.

The University of Texas at Austin

Austin, TX

Supporting ASLMS Member

Bahman Anvari, Ph.D.

“Multiphoton Imaging and Photothermal Therapy of Tumors using Nanoshells”

This proposal seeks to develop nanoshells as combined luminescence imaging and photothermal therapy agents of tumors. We propose to first establish the nonlinear photo-physical properties of nanoshells (aim 1). These properties will determine the optimum nanoshell geometries (size, core/shell thickness) and laser excitation wavelengths for in vivo TPIP imaging of nanoshells in tumors. Then, we will study nanoshell targeting kinetics (aim 2) by establishing a murine model to study the dynamic accumulation of nanoshells in vivo. Using this model we will compare passive (EPR) targeting to active (anti-body mediated targeting) of murine tumors. This project will culminate in a demonstration of combined imaging and treatment of murine tumors (aim 3).


Min Yao, Ph.D.

Massachusetts General Hospital

Boston, MA

Supporting ASLMS Member

R. Rox Anderson, M.D.

“Light-Activated Technology for Corneal Grafting”

This research will introduce a novel, sutureless laser-activated method for securing grafts onto the cornea. This technology, photochemical tissue bonding (PTB), employs a FDA-approved dye that is activated by green light from a clinical laser to initiate bonding between tissue surfaces without added glues or protein. In contrast to laser welding, PTB operates by a photochemical, not a thermal mechanism. By eliminating the need for sutures, PTB can decrease substantially post-surgical complications. In addition, securing grafts using PTB eliminates the tedious and difficult placement of fine sutures in the cornea, thus shortening procedure times and decreasing the level of surgical skill required.


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