NIR vision shines light on lymphatic system

MAY 10, 2009--The director of the new Center for Molecular Imaging at The University of Texas Health Science Center (Houston, TX, USA) is using near-infrared vision technology to shed light on the lymphatic system.

May 10th, 2009

MAY 10, 2009--The director of the new Center for Molecular Imaging at The University of Texas Health Science Center (Houston, TX, USA) is using near-infrared vision technology to shed light on the lymphatic system. While much is known about the blood system, Eva Sevick, who leads the 20-person research team in the university's Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases (IMM), said that until recently comparatively little was known about the lymphatic system.

The lymphatic system is a network of vessels that act as the body's sewer system picking up excess debris and fluid from tissues. Unlike blood, lymphatic fluid is clear, which makes it hard to see. In addition, lymphatic vessels are so small that it is difficult to inject the amount of contrast agents needed for traditional MRI or x-rays. While lymphatic fluid can be seen with nuclear techniques, actual fluid movement is hard to observe because it typically takes several minutes to acquire an image.

Sevick's solution was to inject micro-amounts of fluorescent dye below the skin where the lymphatic system would sweep it up. Then with the aid of a small laser and a NIR vision camera designed to pick up small amounts of light, Sevick's team was able to observe the dye move through the lymph system below the surface of the skin. For more information, go to: http://publicaffairs.uth.tmc.edu/media/newsreleases/nr2009/lymphaticdisease.htm

-- Posted by Conard Holton, Vision Systems Design, www.vision-systems.com

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