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Cluster Report Photonics in the Capital Region Berlin-Brandenburg

  • Text
  • Imaging
  • Photonics
  • Berlin
  • Optical
  • Laser
  • Technologies
  • Optics
  • Microsystems
  • Components
  • Brandenburg

5.1.4 Optical Technology

5.1.4 Optical Technology in Biomedicine and Pharmaceuticals Ophthalmic expertise is also available in Berlin: for example, at Oculentis where they specialize in intraocular lenses – on artificial eye lenses that are implanted in the event of illness. Applications for the lenses, which are marketed under the brand name “Lentis”, are diseases such as cataracts, astigmatism or presbyopia. Since its creation in 1995, this family-owned company made a name for itself internationally with its innovative ophthalmic products; today they employ more than 80 people. Only your imagination is the limit – the future of medical optics Sometimes, rather simple ideas can advance medicine. At the Heinrich-Hertz-Institute , for example, research is being done into contact-free control of computers. For the work in the operating room that is a quantum leap. So far, surgeons had to pass on control commands during computer-assisted surgery orally to an assistant. Because of problems with sterility, typing commands themselves is out of the question. The newly acquired optical information from diagnostics makes high demands on software and computing power. Solutions are offered, for example, by arivis GmbH, a Fraunhofer spin-off based in Rostock and Adlershof, and the Berlin company VMscope GmbH. Both specialize in the processing of large amounts of data from imaging and other medical tests. The joint project “Virtual Specimen Scout”, in which both companies are involved, is supposed to further establish and refine virtual microscopy. High-resolution scanned specimens are analyzed and processed by software. Thereby, the diagnostic evaluation of microscopic images should be simplified and a comparison be made possible with reference cases. The project is funded by the Berlin Future Fund; project partners are the Institute for Pathology of the Charité, the TU Berlin, and the NEXUS / DIS GmbH in Frankfurt. What is being researched at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Golm resembles science fiction: vesicles, small capsules with which drugs can be delivered selectively to the diseased area. The capsules are designed such that they bond specifically to malignant cells; heat input via laser beam is an option to open them inside the body. Currently it seems that only the imagination limits the applications that might be associated with in the future optical technologies in medicine. But scientists and leaders in the region prove that they have imagination every day, and also that they are able to translate their ideas into practice. Contact: Dr. Karl-Heinz Schönborn W.O.M. World of Medicine AG Phone: +49 (0)30 / 39981527 Email: 72

5.1.4 Optical Technology in Biomedicine and Pharmaceuticals “The laser is much more than a surgical instrument” Interview with Prof. Dr. H.-Peter Berlien on optical technologies in medicine Professor Berlien, as a laser expert at the Protestant Elizabeth Hospital, you use the laser mainly as a surgical instrument. For which operations is the laser particularly well suited, and where are the limits for the use of lasers in surgery? When we speak of a laser surgery, this is a treatment concept in which we are changing the tissue. We can remove it, vaporize it, cut it out, atrophy it on the spot, or trigger photochemical reactions which will lead to the result only in a few weeks. Basically, the laser does not compete with the scalpel: where the scalpel reaches its limits, we often succeed with the laser. This is particularly relevant to the field of endoscopic surgery, as well as the treatment of congenital vascular diseases, blemishes and haemangiomas. The third major application area is cancer treatment, in particular palliative tumor therapy and the treatment of early tumors. There are many innovative companies in Berlin, such as LTB Lasertechnik that has brought, for example, a world innovation to the market for the early detection of skin cancer. How is the use of lasers developing in analytics and diagnostics? In terms of cancer detection, we now have processes for photodynamic diagnosis and fluorescence diagnosis, thanks to laser technology. Additionally, with the optical coherent tomography we have means for detailed investigation of diseases that are below the detection limit of ultrasound. In this area we are making great progress. For example, together with LTB Lasertechnikand World of Medicine, also a Berlin-based company, we have a joint project for the development of fluorescence diagnosis: in combination with optical coherent tomography we unite the strengths of both techniques and can not only locate but also determine irregularities accurately. One must recognize the limitations of the process and make the most of it. The laser is much more than a surgical instrument. The capital region is well-positioned both in the optical technologies as well as in medical technology. Which technologies and methodologies from Berlin are of international importance? Which framework conditions must be further developed or created to strengthen this position? Right from the start, our structural positioning in Berlin worked very well and we have never done anything depending on people. This is an immense advantage for Berlin that the whole scene is set up in a structured manner. Prof. Dr. med. H.-Peter Berlien held the first Chair for Laser Medicine at the Free University of Berlin. From 1996 to 2005, he was chief physician of the newly formed Department of Laser Medicine in the Berlin-Neukölln Hospital, and since 2005 he is chief physician of the newly formed Department of Laser Medicine at the Elizabeth Hospital in Berlin. The department brings together all currently laser devices usable in medical therapy and diagnosis as well as an interdisciplinary team of experienced physicians in laser applications. Prof. Berlien is Vice President of the International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies (ISSVA) and Chairman of the Berlin Scientific Society (BWG), as well as a full member of the German Academy of Science and Engineering (acatech). Independently of individual decision makers this ensures that topics are carried continuously over long times. It is a network that evolves areas on its own. This is also a great meritorious testament to my former mentor, Professor Jürgen Waldschmidt, who caused laser treatment not becoming a playground but rather evolving into a routine technique. Which regional projects in research and development are currently of particular importance? What new application areas result from them? As already mentioned, in our department we work on the integration of OCT and multi-photon fluorescence. In Berlin, there are some other working groups with major projects, as examples one can mention the Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt (PTB) with a diagnostic procedure for rheumatism diagnosis or the Hospital Buch that works on improving the detection of lymph node cancer. The interview was conducted by Markus Wabersky and Arild Eichbaum 73

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