19 December 2018:
Researchers from CNBP and the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing, together with Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital and University of Western Australia collaborators, have demonstrated the potential of an ‘imaging needle’ for reducing the risk of dangerous brain bleeds in patients undergoing brain biopsy. In the journal Science Advances, the researchers describe how a tiny imaging needle can detect blood vessels with a very high degree of accuracy (91.2% sensitivity and 97.7% specificity). Pictured is corresponding author of the paper CNBP Investigator Prof Robert McLaughlin, University of Adelaide.
Journal: Science Advances.
Publication title: Intraoperative detection of blood vessels with an imaging needle during neurosurgery in humans.
Authors: Hari Ramakonar, Bryden C. Quirk, Rodney W. Kirk, Jiawen Li, Angela Jacques, Christopher R. P. Lind and Robert A. McLaughlin.
Abstract: Intracranial hemorrhage can be a devastating complication associated with needle biopsies of the brain. Hemorrhage can occur to vessels located adjacent to the biopsy needle as tissue is aspirated into the needle and removed. No intraoperative technology exists to reliably identify blood vessels that are at risk of damage. To address this problem, we developed an “imaging needle” that can visualize nearby blood vessels in real time. The imaging needle contains a miniaturized optical coherence tomography probe that allows differentiation of blood flow and tissue. In 11 patients, we were able to intraoperatively detect blood vessels (diameter, >500 μm) with a sensitivity of 91.2% and a specificity of 97.7%. This is the first reported use of an optical coherence tomography needle probe in human brain in vivo. These results suggest that imaging needles may serve as a valuable tool in a range of neurosurgical needle interventions.
20 March 2018:
The CNBP spin-out company Miniprobes and its development of an inexpensive handheld scanner that can undertake microscopic analysis of surfaces has featured as a ‘success story’ as a part of the AUSInnovates campaign.
The handheld imaging device is able to accurately measure the thickness of surface coatings applied to products – often less than a tenth of a millimetre in thickness.
“We’re exploring two major international markets,” explained Dr McLaughlin, Miniprobes Managing Director.
“Our scanheads can examine metal parts in microscopic detail, and that’s important for industrial manufacturers working to fine tolerances, such as in the car and aerospace industries.”
“Another important application is in controlling the absorption rate of drugs, which is achieved by coating the drug with a thin chemical layer. Our device enables precise measurement of these layers by pharmaceutical manufacturers.”
The AUSinnovates campaign celebrates successful Australian commercialisation and is championed by gemaker, research-industry engagement and commercialisation specialists.
10 December 2017:
Professor Sue Thomas, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Australian Research Council (ARC) has visited CNBP laboratories at the University of Adelaide and gained first-hand experience of the exciting biophotonics science taking place there.
Shown around a number of laboratory spaces by CNBP Director Prof Mark Hutchinson, Prof Thomas spent time examining the glass fabrication facilities used by the Centre as well as exploring more fully, the exciting ‘smart needle brain probe’ work headed-up by Prof Robert McLaughlin.
Other CNBP related activity included discussion with Centre researchers of industry relevant translational work currently being undertaken in the food and wine quality assessment area.
Prof Mark Hutchinson said of the visit , “It was fantastic to share with Prof Thomas how the breadth of our ARC funded CNBP fundamental science program is translating to industry projects and how this is leading to new leveraged funding and employment opportunities for our talented CNBP scientists.”
Below – ARC CEO Prof Sue Thomas is given a hands-on demonstration of a ‘smart needle’ probe for the brain by CNBP’s Prof Robert McLaughlin.
9 November 2017:
As silver sponsor at the annual STA ‘Science meets Business’ event held in Sydney, November 9th 2017, CNBP was extremely well represented, supporting a push to improve engagement and collaboration between the research sector and Australian industry.
In addition to having numerous Centre scientists in attendance – those with a strong interest and focus on commercialisation and translation of research, CNBP also had senior personnel speak and present in a variety of capacities.
This included CNBP Director Prof Mark Hutchinson (pictured top left), who together with Andrew Grant (Availer) discussed CNBP’s commercialisation success and the taking of ideas from ‘boom to the showroom.’ Deep dive (idea creation), value-add solutions, solving pain points and interesting new jobs were all touched upon in a quick fire exchange of views.
Additionally, Centre Investigator and Miniprobes founder Prof Robert McLaughlin participated in the ‘soapbox sesssion’ where three competitively-selected ‘soapbox leaders’ made compelling pitches, sparking robust discussion as they quizzed delegates for perspectives on new ideas to create useful collaboration.
“It was great to be at this years ‘Science meets Business’, bringing CNBP science and innovation to industry and learnings back again,” concluded Prof Hutchinson. “I look forward to hearing about other successful collaborations at next year’s STA event.”
Below – CNBP Investigator and founder of Miniprobes Prof Robert McLaughlin pitches his smart needle to a science/business audience.
20 January 2017:
A new high-tech medical device to make brain surgery safer has been developed by CNBP researchers at the University of Adelaide.
Prof Robert McLaughlin (pictured), leader of the project, was featured in Science Daily, stating, “”We call it a smart needle. It contains a tiny fibre-optic camera, the size of a human hair, shining infrared light to see the vessels before the needle can damage them.”
You can read the full story here.
20 January 2017:
A new high-tech medical device to make brain surgery safer has been developed by researchers at the Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics located at the University of Adelaide.
Led by CNBP Investigator Professor Robert McLaughlin (pictured), the tiny imaging probe, encased within a brain biopsy needle, lets surgeons ‘see’ at-risk blood vessels as they insert the needle, allowing them to avoid causing bleeds that can potentially be fatal.
Over the past six months, the “smart needle” has been used in a pilot trial with 12 patients undergoing neurosurgery at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Western Australia.
Today, Education and Training Minister Senator Simon Birmingham, was shown the high tech needle and the laboratory where it was developed at a special event at the University of Adelaide.
“This smart biopsy device is an outstanding example of how our investment in research can translate into real benefits for industries and ultimately for Australians,” Minister Birmingham said.
A press release related to this activity can be viewed online, as can a YouTube video detailing this innovative translational research.
Below – CNBP Director Professor Mark Hutchinson (left) and CNBP Investigator Professor Robert McLaughlin (second right) look on as Senator Simon Birmingham (centre) explores the ‘smart needle device’.
19 December 2016:
CNBP researchers Prof Rob McLaughlin (pictured) and Dr Erik Schartner, have received funding for their research activity through the University of Adelaide’s Commercial Accelerator Scheme.
Through CAS, the University contributes up to $400,000 each year in cash to research projects with a commercial application. The funding is provided for proof of concept and early commercialisation activities, to promote translational research for impact, and greater industry engagement.
Funding details follow below, with additional information available online.
Smart needles for safer and more effective brain surgery
$80,000 awarded to Professor Rob McLaughlin (Adelaide School of Medicine and ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics )
A novel miniaturised imaging probe, so small that it can be encased within a hypodermic needle for use in neurosurgery, enables safer and more effective brain biopsies. Having already progressed this product to initial human in vivo studies, this high-tech medical device is ready to go through the regulatory pathways. If commercialised, it could service an estimated $200m market, creating new employment opportunities in South Australia, and better neurosurgery outcomes globally.
Cancer cell detector
$80,000 awarded to Dr Erik Schartner (School of Physical Sciences and ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics)
With 15-20% of breast cancer surgery patients requiring additional surgery to further remove tumorous tissue, there is a need for improved surgical practices that can also provide enhanced cosmetic outcomes. This technology offers a novel detection tool using optical fibre sensors that will differentiate between cancerous and normal tissues based on pH levels, to provide specific, real-time information to surgeons.
9 November 2016:
Investigation of optical coherence microelastography as a method to visualize micro-architecture in human axillary lymph nodes;
Kelsey M. Kennedy, Lixin Chin, Philip Wijesinghe, Robert A. McLaughlin, Bruce Latham, David D. Sampson, Christobel M. Saunders and Brendan F. Kennedy
BMC Cancer; DOI 10.1186/s12885-016-2911-z.
10 May 2016:
We’re extremely happy to welcome Professor Robert McLaughlin to the Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP).
As the new Chair of BioPhotonics at the University of Adelaide and Investigator for the CNBP, Robert has a strong and proven track record in imaging research, successful research funding, as well as in team management and leadership.
A world-leader in the development of the ‘microscope-in-a-needle’ technology, Robert’s expertise has been in successfully miniaturising fibre-optic probes encased within a hypodermic needle. These probes have then been able to be inserted deep into the body to acquire fluorescence and optical coherence tomography images.
Said CNBP Director Prof Mark Hutchinson, “Robert will be exploring novel applications and deployment of fibre sensing and fibre imaging across the three biological challenges of the CNBP. He and his team will bring a wealth of experimental, computational and practical skills that compliment the range of expertise already existing within the Centre. In addition, Robert’s experience in translational productisation and commercialisation will add to the existing momentum of industry and commercial engagement from the CNBP.”
Welcome to the team Robert!