New tiny probe developed by University of Adelaide researchers can be delivered deep inside the body in a minimally invasive way. It also allows us to see and record physiological data in real time that we weren't able to access before.
University of Adelaide researchers have invented a The probe may help researchers find better treatments to prevent drug-induced overheating of the brain, and potentially refine thermal treatment for cancers.
"With an outer diameter of only 130 microns, the probe is as thin as a single strand of human hair," says Dr Jiawen Li, a researcher with the Adelaide Medical School, ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale Biophotonics (CNBP) and the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) at the University of Adelaide. The miniaturised imaging and sensing probe has been developed to help study drug-induced hyperthermia.
The probe also has potential to provide insights into other diseases and treatments in other parts of the body, such as optimising thermal treatment of cancers. While the first generation of the probe can both take images and measure temperature, Dr Li hopes future generations will take other measurements as well - such as pH values, oxygen saturation and accumulation of fat in arteries. "This research is an example of the inspiring transdisciplinary culture nurtured at IPAS and CNBP to enable new tools not possible within a single discipline," says Professor Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem, the Deputy Director of IPAS.
"IPAS and CNBP has world-class expertise in photonics, and Adelaide has a large number of medical researchers that allows us to explore new ways to use light-based technologies," says Professor Robert McLaughlin, Chair of Biophotonics at the University of Adelaide. "It makes South Australia an exciting place to explore the overlap of technology and medicine."
Dr Li's research has been published in the journal Optics Letters. Dr Li was a South Australian finalist in Fresh Science, a national program that helps early-career researchers find and share their stories of discovery.