Researchers have developed technology for microscopic imaging in living organisms. A miniaturized multiphoton microscopy device, which could be used in an endoscope in the future, excites the body’s own molecules to illuminate and enables cells and tissue structures to be imaged without the use of synthetic contrast agents.
It is often necessary to examine tissue samples under the microscope to diagnose diseases. This involves taking such samples using colonoscopy, for example, and applying contrast agents to distinguish different types of tissue effectively. The researchers have now developed a process that could greatly simplify examinations of the colon and other organs.
The researchers have miniaturized multiphoton microscopy to such an extent as to enable it to be used in endoscopes. A multi-photon microscope emits focussed laser pulses at very high intensity for an extremely short period of time. During this process, two or more photons interact simultaneously with certain molecules in the body which then makes the molecules illuminate.
Multi-photon microscopy offers decisive advantages over conventional methods. Patients do not need to take synthetic contrast agents for the imaging of parts of connective tissue as the body’s own markers illuminate due to the excitation by photons. The procedure could supplement biopsies or even make them superfluous in some cases.