"We need this technique to understand whether the available treatments are curing the underlying condition or just the symptoms," said Marjanovic, who also is a member of Beckman's Biophotonics Imaging Lab.
The new microscope can look at different aspects of wound healing simultaneously. The researchers used it to get images of the wound, track collagen that helps in wound healing, and visualize the blood vessel distribution around the wound. Additionally, they also have measured various chemicals in the tissue that indicate how much inflammation is occurring.
The paper "Non-invasive monitoring of pharmacodynamics during the skin wound healing process using multimodal optical microscopy" was published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.
"This is a continuation of a previous study we did where we made a wound on the ears of mice," said Aneesh Alex, a visiting scholar at the Beckman Institute and a scientist at GlaxoSmithKline. "In this study, we added more visualization capabilities and studied the wound healing process on the backs of the mice, which is a more accurate model."
The researchers studied the healing process for a month. They looked at four groups of mice: mice with untreated wounds, mice which had placebo treatments, and mice with two different concentrations of the treatment drug.
"One of the main limitations of optical imaging techniques is its shallow penetration depth in biological tissues," said Eric Chaney, a research scientist in the Biophotonics Imaging Lab and at the center. The limitation is due to the scattering of light, which makes it difficult for the researchers to look at deeper tissue structures.
"The major advantages of this technique are that we do not use any labels in our imaging and it is completely noninvasive," Marjanovic said. "We have also done follow-up studies in humans and we have been able to look at the changes in the skin of healthy volunteers and patients with skin conditions."
The researchers hope to further refine the technique so it can be used for routine studies of skin disorders and their treatments.
MEDICA-tradefair.com; Source: Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology