[MOL] Engineers Discover Procedure That Can Make Tissue Temporarily Tr [00266] Medicine On Line


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[MOL] Engineers Discover Procedure That Can Make Tissue Temporarily Transparent, Potentially Improving Medical Procedures



Engineers Discover Procedure That Can Make Tissue Temporarily
    Transparent, Potentially Improving Medical Procedures
    [09/05/2000; ScienceDaily]

By manipulating the way light passes through tissue, a biomedical
engineering research team at The University of Texas at Austin
has taken a step toward what was once the realm of science fiction.
The researchers have made tiny bits of flesh transparent for
brief periods of time in the lab.

In effect, the engineers temporarily can create a window of tissue,
allowing doctors to see up to five times deeper than they can
at present. Although it has not yet been tested on human skin,
the engineers say the process could have wide applications for
medical diagnosis and new therapies.

Using injections of substances such as glycerol, the UT Austin
researchers have succeeded in making small areas of rat or hamster
skin nearly transparent for a period of 20 minutes or more. Glycerol
is hygroscopic alcohol, which means it pulls water out of tissue.
Glycerol often is used in cosmetics and for medical applications.

....

If the procedure works on human tissue, it has the potential to
lead to improvements in a variety of diagnostic and therapeutic
medical procedures ranging from laser surgery to the treatment
of tumors, Welch said. At present, therapeutic procedures that
depend on accurately focusing lasers on a particular area --
such as retinal surgery and the accurate targeting of tumors
and other laser surgeries -- are limited by the fact that a beam
of light cannot pass directly through overlying tissue, Welch
explained. 

The full article can be found at:

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/09/000904124414.htm

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