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Laser Induced Healing

May 5, 2010

The title might be little deceptive, but maybe not. These days lasers can be seen in use everywhere, some examples being: laser pointers, laser shows, analyzing aerosols, eye treatments, inducing rains, cooling down the atoms and so on. If lasers can do everything, they can also stitch your wounds as well, right, without leaving any scars, no pain, no damage to surrounding tissues. Sounds excellent. Well, scientists have been working on a technique called Photochemical Tissue Bonding (PTB) where they use a photo-reactive dye which is applied to the tissue surface and then it’s illuminated with a laser for few minutes. The dye absorbs the laser energy, the energy is not very high to cause any thermal damage to the tissue, and it induces collagen molecules in the tissue to cross-link by formation of reactive intermediates. The dye which has been typically studied and used for this process is Rose Bengal which is a FDA approved dye and has been extensively used for liver treatments and also being studied for liver and eye cancer studies. Rose Bengal absorbs the light strongly around 530-550 nm (maximum at 550 nm) and hence a visible 532 nm laser can be used to induce the bonding process. The mechanism of bonding is not still understood clearly and that provides a good opportunity to study the process and optimize the process so that it can be applied for healing people.

Photo Credit: KOCHEVAR LAB At Wellman center

References: Microvascular anastomosis using a photochemical tissue bonding technique: Lasers in Surgery and Medicine  Volume 39 Issue 9, Pages 716 – 722
Electron Transfer Quenching of the Rose Bengal Triplet State: Photochemistry and Photobiology, 1997, 66(1): 15-25

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