Combined laser and X-ray tech promises big boost in resolution

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Developers of a laser-based X-ray technology say it could boast imaging capabilities far beyond current medical standards to enable cellular-level identification and treatment of disease.

The device, being installed at the University of California-Irvine’s Applied Innovation Center, uses laser technology that uses high-energy, short-duration laser pulses used to generate X-rays for imaging procedures.

The developers, Lumitron, say its HyperVIEW Platform, enables imaging capabilities that have the potential to find and treat disease at the cellular level, potentially offering resolution that is 1,000 times that of current imaging capabilities.

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The HyperVIEW platform uses a proprietary X-ray technology conceived and developed at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). Professor Chris Barty of UCI, former CTO of LLNL’s National Ignition Facility and Photon Science Directorate, home of the world’s largest laser system, has overseen the establishment of Lumitron’s commercial endeavor in Irvine and is leading the company’s development of the patents he helped create.

The Lumitron’s platform would “have the potential … to image and treat cancer precisely and non-invasively. It could eliminate surgery,” contends Phil Stricker, chairman of the Department of Urology at St. Vincent’s Sydney and Director of The Australian Prostate Cancer Research Center.

Lumitron has now established its global R&D and manufacturing facility within the industrial research park of the University of California, Irvine, home of the world-renowned Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic.

“We see this as a pivotal moment in imaging,” says Bruce Tromberg, MD, professor of Biomedical Engineering and Surgery, and Director of the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic, co-located on the UCI campus. “There is little doubt that this represents a new frontier for medicine.”

The HyperVIEW platform leverages three complete generations of machine design, construction and test at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and more than $220 million of research and development in advanced X-ray, laser and accelerator science undertaken by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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