New optical fibre sensor to aid breast cancer surgery

An IPAS research team led by Dr Erik Schartner has developed an optical fibre probe that distinguishes breast cancer tissue from normal tissue – potentially allowing surgeons to be much more precise when removing breast cancer.

The device could help prevent follow-up surgery, currently needed for 15-20% of breast cancer surgery patients where all the cancer is not removed.

Published today in the journal Cancer Research, the researchers in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing, and the Schools of Physical Sciences and Medicine, describe how the optical probe works by detecting the difference in pH between the two types of tissue. The research conducted with our partners Prof. Grantley Gill at with the Breast, Endocrine and Surgical Oncology Unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Dr Deepak Dhatrak of SA Pathology and Prof David Callen, Director of the Centre for Personalised Cancer Medicine at the University of Adelaide. 

dr-erik-schartner

“We have designed and tested a fibre-tip pH probe that has very high sensitivity for differentiating between healthy and cancerous tissue with an extremely simple – so far experimental – setup that is fully portable,” says project leader Dr Erik Schartner, postdoctoral researcher at the CNBP at the University of Adelaide.

“Because it is cost-effective to do measurements in this manner compared to many other medical technologies, we see a clear scope for this technology in operating theaters.”

Current surgical techniques to remove cancer lack a reliable method to identify the tissue type during surgery, relying on the experience and judgement of the surgeon to decide on how much tissue to remove. Because of this, surgeons often perform ‘cavity shaving’, which can result in the removal of excessive healthy tissue. And at other times, some cancerous tissue will be left behind.

“This is quite traumatic to the patient, and has been shown to have long-term detrimental effects on the patient’s outcome,” Dr Schartner says.

The optical fibre probe uses the principle that cancer tissue has a more acidic environment than normal cells; they produce more lactic acid as a byproduct of their aggressive growth.

The pH indicator embedded in the tip of the optical probe emits a different colour of light depending on the acidity. A miniature spectrometer on the other end of the probe analyses the light and therefore the pH.

“How we see it working is the surgeon using the probe to test questionable tissue during surgery,” says Dr Schartner. “If the readout shows the tissues are cancerous, that can immediately be removed. Presently this normally falls to post-operative pathology, which could mean further surgery.

The researchers currently have a portable demonstration unit and are doing further testing. They hope to progress to clinical studies in the near future.

$14.7 million in grants to further drive innovative defence technologies

Minister for Defence Industry, The Hon Christopher Pyne MP today announced seven Australian organisations would receive Australian Government funding of $14.7 million to develop and demonstrate innovative technologies to enhance Defence capability, as part of the Government’s $1.6 billion investment in defence innovation.

https://www.pyneonline.com.au/media-centre/media-releases/147-million-in-grants-to-further-drive-innovative-defence-technologies

IPAS researchers Prof Andre Luiten, A/Prof John Hartnett and A/Prof Martin O’Connor are the research leaders of one of these projects. Their project is to develop Ultra-High Quality Signal Generation for Over the Horizon Radar. The project aims to upgrade the overall performance of the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN), through a performance upgrade of its essential sub-systems. This will improve overall detection of targets.

prof-andre-luiten-ctd

$4.5 million awarded for new research discoveries

IPAS researchers have today been awarded $4.5 million in federal funding for new research.

This included 4 Discovery Projects, 1 DECRA Fellowship, 1 Future Fellowship and 2 LIEF infrastructure grants led by IPAS members. 

IPAS Partnership with Trajan Video

Research Paper Summary by Dr Karan Gulati on drug-delivery and electrical stimulation therapy

Conversion of titania (TiO2) into conductive titanium (Ti) nanotube arrays for combined drug-delivery and electrical stimulation therapy

Electrical stimulation therapy (EST) involves placing electrodes at the site of fracture and applying small voltage to enable quicker bone healing, however, this technique faces limitations of bacterial infection/inflammation. A simple solution could be delivering drugs locally at the site of trauma while enabling EST, from the surface of tiny and minimally invasive drug eluting bone implant. Hereby we demonstrate the ability of nano-engineered Ti bone implants in the form of tiny wires with Ti nanotubes preloaded with drug, for combined EST and drug releasing abilities.

Authors: Gulati, K., Maher, S., Chandrasekaran, S., Findlay, D.M., Losic, D.

Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 4 (3), pp. 371-375 (2016)

karan-gulati-conversion-of-titania-tio2-into-conductive-titanium-ti

 

Research Paper Summary by Dr Abel Santos

Realisation and advanced engineering of true optical rugate filters based on nanoporous anodic alumina by sinusoidal pulse anodisation

Optical rugate filters based on nanoporous anodic alumina are produced and precisely engineered by sinusoidal pulse anodisation (i.e. electrochemical oxidation) of aluminium foils. These photonic structures can be used for developing high throughput label-free molecular screening and sensing applications, encoding platforms of information as photonic tags and tracers and self-reporting drug releasing micro-sized containers.

Authors: Santos, A., Yoo, J.H., Rohatgi, C.V., Kumeria, T., Wang, Y., Losic, D.

Nanoscale, 8 (3), pp. 1360-1373 (2016)

santos-1-paper

IONS KOALA 2016 Student Conference 27 November – 2 December

The 9th Conference on Optics, Atoms and Laser Applications (KOALA) and International OSA Network of Students (IONS) event will be co-hosted by students from Monash and Swinburne Universities in Melbourne from Sunday 27th November to Friday 2nd December 2016.

IONS KOALA is Australia and New Zealand’s only student conference in the fields of optics, quantum optics, atom optics, photonics and laser technology.

For registrations and details, see their website, or email info@koala2016.com. Registrations close 14th October.

Koala Student Conference 2016

ON Prime: For Big Ideas Ready to Break out – three successful IPAS applications

Congratulations to IPAS researchers for gaining a spot in CSIRO ON Prime. This pre-accelerator program helps research teams validate their research and discover a real world application for it.

ON embraces a get-out-of–the-building approach to learning, by encouraging hands-on, practical learning and business model development.

The High Temperature Sensor, Sapphire Clock and Making better babies with light teams were successful in their applications and the research teams will head to Melbourne over the coming months to participate in the program.

We also wish to congratulate the Robinson Institute for their successful application Home Fertility Assessment.

 

ON Logo CSIRO Logo

Optic-fibre sensors enabling aircraft, ships to self-diagnose corrosion

Deputy Director

Prof Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem

The days of Australia’s defence forces routinely deconstructing major equipment to visually inspect for corrosion could soon be over, saving huge amounts of time and money, and possibly even lives.

In a world first, researchers at the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS), University of Adelaide have developed a unique form of optic fibre that can be coated with flurometric corrosion-sensing material—another world-first technique—and embedded throughout the critical structures of aircraft and ships.

Co-lead researcher and IPAS Deputy Director Professor Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem says this means a fighter jet’s wings, for example, could be checked for the early signs of corrosion in a matter of seconds, with no deconstruction required, then be immediately returned to action.

“We’d been working on training light along tiny ‘nano-rail’ fibres threaded through liquids, structures or other mediums as detectors for several years,” says Heike.

“The light in the nano-rails isn’t contained, as it is in standard broadband-Internet optical fibres, but rather is guided along an exposed core, and can interact with surrounding materials to reveal their secrets.

“The Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG) asked us to work collaboratively wit them to develop these fibres to detect corrosion in the harsh environments which Defence’s aircraft and ships are exposed to.”
According to Heike, the breakthrough came when co-lead researcher Roman Kostecki developed the world’s first exposed-core optic fibre made from silica.

“This made it sturdy enough for use outside the lab, and allowed us to start applying the technology to real-world problems.”

The team subsequently developed a unique method of coating the fibres with chemicals that respond when light comes into contact with any nearby corrosion by-products, enabling near-instant checks to be conducted by firing lasers along the fibres.

“We’ve already successfully checked for aluminium ions in aircraft-grade materials—the first time that’s ever been done with optical fibres—so we’re very excited to keep expanding the technique’s applications in conjunction with the DSTG.

“It has fantastic potential to create safer aircraft, ships, and even critical structures like bridges, which could ultimately contribute to saving lives.”

The technology has also led to new health-related research, says Heike, including in-vitro-fertilisation (IVF) and water-safety applications.

Article from Research Impact, The University of Adelaide

Photographer: CPL Glen McCarthy

Photographer: CPL Glen McCarthy

Finalist for the 2016 South Australian Science Excellence Award – Excellence in Research Collaboration UoA and Trajan

Photo: Tom Roschi

Photo: Tom Roschi

IPAS along with Trajan have been named finalist for Excellence in Research Collaboration award by the Government of South Australia.

From the Government of South Australia, Department of State Development:
The Science Excellence Awards is South Australia’s premier event to recognise and reward outstanding scientific endeavour, including its application in industry and the advancement of science and mathematics education.

Finalist for the 2016 South Australian Science Excellence Award – Excellence in Research Collaboration:

Trajan – University of Adelaide partnership
In November 2015, the University of Adelaide (UoA) commenced a major strategic partnership with Trajan Scientific and Medical (Trajan), with the support of the South Australian government, and launched the new Trajan R&D and Manufacturing Hub in Adelaide at the University. This collaboration is enabling the realisation of research, development and commercialisation of new generation specialty glass products for the global science and medical equipment market.

The winner will be announced at the SA Science Excellence Awards Ceremony on Friday 12 August 2016.

Photo: Tom Roschi

Photo: Tom Roschi

Photo: Tom Roschi

Photo: Tom Roschi

Photo: Tom Roschi

Photo: Tom Roschi

Photo: Tom Roschi

Photo: Tom Roschi