In medicine, speed is power. Numerous studies over the years have shown that the earlier diseases are detected, the higher the odds of recovery. Although this is generally related to early screenings and the like, speeding up the time that medical lab tests take could provide a secondary edge in the battle against many illnesses. A new study out of the University of California – Davis, is showing a unique way to do just that.
Ultraviolet light in medical imaging was deployed during this study in a system called MUSE (microscopy with ultraviolet surface excitation). In layman’s terms, current medical lab work is done by slicing thin sheets of tissue on to glass slides, a process that can take many hours and is painstaking. MUSE suggests an alternative to this work: by focusing UV light at wavelengths below 300 nanometers, high-quality images can be created off of unprepared tissue samples.
This should all make testing dramatically quicker, and the UV light used is generated from LED sources. Researchers suggest that by using the MUSE method, results could become available in mere minutes, as opposed to hours or longer. Tissue samples could be tested outside of a laboratory setting since the careful creation of slides would no longer be necessary.
The team at UC Davis sees a future in this technique that goes beyond microscopy: agriculture, biology, and toxicology are just a few of the many fields mentioned that could use a boost from this groundbreaking image concept. Beyond speed, MUSE has one other big advantage going for it, and that’s cost. LEDs and the UVs they create can be obtained cheaply, and without the need for medical slide samples, the process becomes amazingly efficient.
The work published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering is promising. However, as the process for refining UV light based on LEDs becomes more consistent, researchers must remain mindful of original standards. To do this, they’ll need the right equipment; the very type built in the laboratories of Gooch and Housego.
The Life Sciences & Instrumentation Division of Gooch and Housego was established to eliminate a void that existed in the area of optical radiation standards, calibration services, and measurement instrumentation for industry, government/military, and academia. We are dedicated to helping you and your organization by providing products that have been tested against traceable calibration standards. If you want to learn more, contact us today at 407-422-3171.