As a third direction, the Cheng lab is making rapid progress in converting label-free spectroscopic technologies into medical devices for clinical diagnosis. Based on the “listening to molecular vibration” concept published in Phys Rev Lett (2011, 106: 238106), Cheng and collaborators have developed a high-speed intravascular vibrational photoacoustic catheter (Scientific Reports 2014, 4: 6889), that will eventually allow for label-free detection of a lipid-laden plaque in patients. In a more recent study through collaboration with scientists at Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, a novel OPO laser was developed for high-speed, high-sensitivity IVPA imaging at wavelength of 1.7 micron (Biomed Opt Express 2015, 6: 4557). In 2014, Cheng and Pu Wang co-founded Vibronix Inc., which has the mission of saving lives through development and commercialization of vibrational imaging devices.
In another important clinical application, our team addressed the unmet need in high-speed intraoperative assessment of breast cancer margin during a conservation surgical procedure (Biomed Opt Express 2015, 6: 1273). Our team demonstrated a multispectral photoacoustic tomography system for breast tumor margin assessment using fat and hemoglobin as contrast. This system provides ~3 mm tissue depth and ~ 125 micron axial resolution. The results agreed with histological findings. In 2015, the Margin PAT team (Pu Wang, Rui Li, Lu Lan) received the first prize in BME Idea competition at the New York City. The Margin PAT device is currently in IU School of Medicine for a clinical study through collaboration with breast cancer Surgeon Dr. Linda Han.