Lasers for Cancer Dx and Rx

Dr. Weeks Comment:  We know that IV lasers can offer therapeutic power  See

but now we learn that lasers can be used diagnostically in cancer.


Sci Transl Med.2019 Jun 12;11(496). pii: eaat5857. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aat5857.

In vivo liquid biopsy using Cytophone platform for photoacoustic detection of circulating tumor cells in patients with melanoma.

Galanzha EI1,2, Menyaev YA1, Yadem AC1,3, Sarimollaoglu M1,2, Juratli MA1,4, Nedosekin DA1, Foster SR5, Jamshidi-Parsian A6, Siegel ER7, Makhoul I8, Hutchins LF8, Suen JY9, Zharov VP10,2,9.

Author information


Most cancer deaths arise from metastases as a result of circulating tumor cells (CTCs) spreading from the primary tumor to vital organs. Despite progress in cancer prognosis, the role of CTCs in early disease diagnosis is unclear because of the low sensitivity of CTC assays. We demonstrate the high sensitivity of the Cytophone technology using an in vivo photoacoustic flow cytometry platform with a high pulse rate laser and focused ultrasound transducers for label-free detection of melanin-bearing CTCs in patients with melanoma. The transcutaneous delivery of laser pulses via intact skin to a blood vessel results in the generation of acoustic waves from CTCs, which are amplified by vapor nanobubbles around intrinsic melanin nanoclusters. The time-resolved detection of acoustic waves using fast signal processing algorithms makes photoacoustic data tolerant to skin pigmentation and motion. No CTC-associated signals within established thresholds were identified in 19 healthy volunteers, but 27 of 28 patients with melanoma displayed signals consistent with single, clustered, and likely rolling CTCs. The detection limit ranged down to 1 CTC/liter of blood, which is ~1000 times better than in preexisting assays. The Cytophone could detect individual CTCs at a concentration of ≥1 CTC/ml in 20 s and could also identify clots and CTC-clot emboli. The in vivo results were verified with six ex vivo methods. These data suggest the potential of in vivo blood testing with the Cytophone for early melanoma screening, assessment of disease recurrence, and monitoring of the physical destruction of CTCs through real-time CTC counting.


Biomed Opt Express.2018 Oct 23;9(11):5667-5677. doi: 10.1364/BOE.9.005667. eCollection 2018 Nov 1.

Noninvasive label-free detection of circulating white and red blood clots in deep vessels with a focused photoacoustic probe.

Juratli MA1,2, Menyaev YA3, Sarimollaoglu M3, Melerzanov AV4, Nedosekin DA1, Culp WC5, Suen JY6, Galanzha EI3,7, Zharov VP3,7,8.


Blood clotting is a serious clinical complication of many medical procedures and disorders including surgery, catheterization, transplantation, extracorporeal circuits, infections, and cancer. This complication leads to high patient morbidity and mortality due to clot-induced pulmonary embolism, stroke, and in some cases heart attack. Despite the clear medical significance, little progress has been made in developing the methods for detection of circulating blood clots (CBCs), also called emboli. We recently demonstrated the application of in vivophotoacoustic (PA) flow cytometry (PAFC) with unfocused ultrasound transducers for detection of CBCs in small vessels in a mouse model. In the current study, we extend applicability of PAFC for detection of CBCs in relatively large (1.5-2 mm) and deep (up to 5-6 mm) blood vessels in rat and rabbit models using a high pulse rate 1064 nm laser and focused ultrasound transducer with a central hole for an optic fiber. Employing phantoms and chemical activation of clotting, we demonstrated PA identification of white, red, and mixed CBCs producing negative, positive, and mixed PA contrast in blood background, respectively. We confirmed that PAFC can detect both red and white CBCs induced by microsurgical procedures, such as a needle or catheter insertion, as well as stroke modeled by injection of artificial clots. Our results show great potential for a PAFC diagnostic platform with a wearable PA fiber probe for diagnosis of thrombosis and embolism in vivothat is impossible with existing techniques.


Nat Commun.2017 Jun 8;8:15528. doi: 10.1038/ncomms15528.

Spaser as a biological probe.

Galanzha EI1, Weingold R1, Nedosekin DA1, Sarimollaoglu M1, Nolan J1, Harrington W1, Kuchyanov AS2, Parkhomenko RG3, Watanabe F4, Nima Z4, Biris AS4, Plekhanov AI2, Stockman MI5, Zharov VP1.


Understanding cell biology greatly benefits from the development of advanced diagnostic probes. Here we introduce a 22-nm spaser (plasmonic nanolaser) with the ability to serve as a super-bright, water-soluble, biocompatible probe capable of generating stimulated emission directly inside living cells and animal tissues. We have demonstrated a lasing regime associated with the formation of a dynamic vapour nanobubble around the spaser that leads to giant spasing with emission intensity and spectral width >100 times brighter and 30-fold narrower, respectively, than for quantum dots. The absorption losses in the spaser enhance its multifunctionality, allowing for nanobubble-amplified photothermal and photoacoustic imaging and therapy. Furthermore, the silica spaser surface has been covalently functionalized with folic acid for molecular targeting of cancer cells. All these properties make a nanobubble spaser a promising multimodal, super-contrast, ultrafast cellular probe with a single-pulse nanosecond excitation for a variety of in vitro and in vivo biomedical applications.

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