New Technology to Boost Efficacy of Laser Dermatological Procedures


In what seems to be a revolution in laser-based dermatological procedures, an interdisciplinary team of researchers at the University Of Missouri College Of Engineering has developed instruments for the safe removal of vascular birthmarks, port-wine stains, and tattoos. Paul Whiteside and his team including advisor Heather Hunt have developed an advanced system that enables dermatologists to transmit the laser light directly into the tissue. The system will improve laser transmission significantly through the layers of the skin and is in many ways more advanced than its predecessors.

Successful Testing on Porcine Tissues Bodes Well for Treatment in Humans

The new system uses an ultrasonic pulsation along with a clinical laser to change the properties of skin tissues requiring laser treatment. The researchers have named the technique ‘sonoillumination’, and extensively tested it on porcine skin using varying amplitudes and pulses. Since the properties of porcine tissues closely resemble those of humans, the success of the technique augurs well for treatment in humans. In addition, various safety concerns associated with laser dermatology procedure, such as eye hazard, are dramatically reduced, thus making the technique increasingly safer for clinicians and patients.

The technique was showcased to clinicians on April 9, 2017 at the annual conference of American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS). Once the system is commercialized, clinicians world over will gain wider access to this technology.

Commercialization of Technology to Benefit Patients and Clinicians

The team has already applied for a patent for the sonoillumination technique and is actively planning to commercialize this technology for a wider use. To this end, the researchers intend to set up a start-up company that is expected to be funded by investors and grants. In recent years, companies that are interested in commercializing the technologies developed by the University have received tens of millions of dollars from interested investors. This research was funded partly by the 2015 Fast Track grant awarded to the University of Missouri System.

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