New instrument further enables critical research in dermatology and regenerative science
TOKYO, Japan — October 1, 2015 — Leading semiconductor test equipment supplier Advantest Corporation (TSE: 6857, NYSE: ATE) announced that it has developed a new photoacoustic microscope that enables non-invasive imaging of blood vessels in the dermis to a depth of 3mm. Researchers in regenerative medicine and dermatology currently rely on biopsies to gain information about blood vessels in the dermis, but biopsies have shortcomings as they provide limited insight into changes over time, and often entail experimentation on live animals. Advantest's new Hadatomo photoacoustic microscope addresses these drawbacks, offering researchers a thoroughly non-invasive process, with an ability to easily reference and compare historical results. This new evaluation method is poised to contribute to further advances in regenerative medicine, dermatology, and plastic surgery.
Non-Invasive Imaging of Blood Vessels in the Dermis
One important area of research in regenerative medicine is skin grafts and the restoration of blood supply to the transplanted skin. More broadly, as in the case of diabetic gangrene, the progression of a disease is closely linked with subcutaneous blood circulation. However, even when treatment has restored blood circulation, non-invasive evaluation of results is difficult. Conventional ultrasound is not suited for imaging of blood vessels in the dermis: although it can produce images of areas deep inside the body, its resolution is poor. Conversely, microscopes and other optical imaging tools offer high resolution, but they cannot produce images of deeper dermis areas, as living tissue scatters the light they require.
Photoacoustic imaging combines the propagation characteristics of ultrasound and the absorption characteristics of light into a new hybrid imaging method. By using ultrasound technology, it can obtain accurate information to a depth of several millimeters: Hemoglobin selectively absorbs the energy of light and returns ultrasonic waves to the surface of the skin, where they can be captured by sensors. The information thus obtained can be displayed numerically and as a high-contrast map of blood vessels in the dermis.
Advantest has been developing photoacoustic technology since 2010. The company's independently developed sensors and electrical circuits permit high-speed measurement without exceeding the MPE (maximum permissible exposure) guidelines for exposure of skin to a light source. The new Hadatomo offers a measurement area of 4 mm × 4 mm × 3 mm (depth) and a maximum speed of 20 second / scan. Proprietary algorithms process the data obtained through dedicated software, and construct 2D and 3D images in quasi-real time.
Moreover, the measurement process requires no setup beyond the application of ultrasound gel to the area to be measured. The tool's flexible arm enables measurement to be performed with ease in various environments.
System Model : WEL5100
Wavelength : 532 nm (less than the MPE for optical radiation)
Measurement time : 10 ~ 80 s depending on the specifics of each case
Measurement area : 4 mm × 4 mm × 3 mm (depth)
Dimensions (approx.) : 540 mm (W) × 545 mm (D) × 1,546 mm (H)
Weight : < 110 kg
Advantest is evaluating a range of prototypes in collaboration with researchers in plastic surgery and dermatology. The company expects to launch the new photoacoustic microscope in the Japanese market in October 2015 with a global roll out to follow.
* This product is categorized as a Scientific Instrument.
* All information supplied in this release is correct at the time of publication, but may be subject to change.