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Professor Bown visits Cheltenham Science Festival

June 2010

Professor Steve Bown visited the world-famous Cheltenham Science Festival 2010, where he spoke about how lasers can be used for the benefit of sick patients. Lasers aren’t just for threatening 007 or zapping mosquitoes; shining lasers on “the nasty bits of tissue…in just the right place at just the right intensity” can utilise the potential of lasers to provide real solutions to the world.

UCL at Cheltenham 2010

TED- lasers zapping mosquitoes

Image Cytometry predicts cancer in Barrett's


An important step forward has been made in predicting the risk of Barrett's patients developing dysplasia and cancer. Using Image Cytometry, scientists can look at the DNA in biopsied cells to determine the status of the patient's cell structure, and thus their chances of developing pre-cancerous and cancerous conditions. Published in the British Journal of Cancer, the research done at the Laser Centre has helped equip physicians with another tool to improve the quality of diagnosis and care for patients with Barrett's. 

The below title provides a link to the abstract.

Image cytometry accurately detects DNA ploidy abnormalities and predicts late relapse to high-grade dysplasia and adenocarcinoma in Barrett's oesophagus following photodynamic therapy

Dr. Lovat explains ESS to Cancer Research UK

October 2009

ESS diagram

Dr. Laurence Lovat described to Cancer Research UK’s reporter Anna Lacey a new type of tool for diagnosing Barrett’s Oesophagus. Elastic Scattering Spectroscopy is a procedure which is currently being trialled at UCLH, and uses a short pulse of light to determine the health of tissue in the oesophagus. 

Elastic Scattering Spectroscopy, or ESS for short, can be performed as part of a normal endoscopy, and can avoid the need to take biopsies from patients, thereby giving them greater quality care and less discomfort. The more comfortable patients are in their endoscopies, the more likely other people who need endoscopies are to book an appointment, and get the treatment they may need.

The instantaneous results that ESS can give means fewer lengthy and anxious waits for patients, shorter hospital stays, and faster courses of therapy.

The interview on Cancer Research UK's website


Dr Martin Austwick has had the following abstracts accepted for presentation at international conferences:

SPIE Photonics West (BIOS) 2009, San Jose, CA, USA (accepted) Biomedical Applications of Light Scattering III, January 2009:

"Optical pharmacokinetics measures in-vivo drug concentration and compartmentalisation for AlS2Pc" [7187-26]'
Author(s): Martin R. Austwick, Wayne Chicken, Santosh K. Somasundaram, Jason M. Dunn, Josephine Woodhams, Charles A. Mosse, Benjamin R. Clark, Univ. College London (United Kingdom); Mary Falzon, Gabrijela Kocjan, Royal Free and Univ. College Medical School (United Kingdom); Irving J. Bigio, Boston Univ. (United States); Laurence B. Lovat, Stephen G.Bown, Mohammed R. Keshtgar, Univ. College London (United Kingdom)

"Scanning elastic scattering spectroscopy (ESS) for the detection of cancer and pre-cancer: sentinel node biopsy in breast cancer and novel* applications in Barrett's Oesophagus (BE)" [7187-32]"
Author(s): Martin R. Austwick, Josephine Woodhams, Charles A. Mosse, Caroline Elliot-Laize, Vadzim Chalau, Alexander J. MacRobert, Univ. College London (United Kingdom); Irving J. Bigio, Boston Univ. (United States); Stephen G. Bown, Univ. College London (United Kingdom)


Congratulations to Santosh Somasundaram, who won the prestigious Ronald Raven Prize at the recent BASO (British Association of Surgical Oncology) Meeting at the Royal College of Surgeons of England. Santosh presented a paper on the optical biopsy scanner for diagnosis of breast cancer in the sentinel node. This work has also won the Astra Zeneca Scholars award at the forthcoming San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium.


Martin Austwick is presenting a poster presentation at the European Biophysics Conference in London entitled "Optical pharmacokinetics for photosensitizer chemometrics" (Woodhams J, MacRobert AJ, Mosse A, Eliot-Laize C, Chalau V, Bigio IJ and Bown SG National Medical Laser Centre, University College London, London, UK Parker R and Kanuck SJ Department of Engineering, University of Pittsburgh, PA, USA).


Martin Austwick will be presenting two papers at the European Conferences on Biomedical Optics conference being held in Munich. The titles are " Rapid intraoperative diagnosis of sentinel node metastases in breast cancer using elastic scattering spectroscopy scanning" and " Optical pharmacokinetics measurement of photosensitising drug concentrations for photodynamic therapy". Click here for details about the conference.


An article on PDT and Barrett's oesophagus appeared in the section "Good Health" on page 59 in the Daily Mail on 16th January 2007.


A short feature entitled "New treatment for pancreatic cancer" appeared in The Times.


An article entitled "Laser therapy to beat cancer without chemo" by Jerome Burne appeared in the Daily Mail on 28 November 2006. 27/11/06

Many congratulations to Wayne Chicken (who worked at the NMLC for 4 years) who has recently been appointed as Specialist Registrar in General Surgery within the Northeast London Region. 


Jo Woodhams presented a poster entitled "Optical Monitoring of Photodynamic Therapy" (Josephine Woodhams, Ying Zhu, Gary Mackenzie, Laurence Lovat and Stephen Bown) at the 6th International Symposium for Photodynamic Therapy in Clinical Practice, 10-14 October, in Brixen, Italy.


A 250 word summary of Dr Laurence Lovat's recent article entitled "Elastic scattering spectroscopy can target biopsies in Barrett’s oesophagus" in Gut is to appear in the ' Research Highlights’ section of Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology & Hepatology (doc).


Many congratulations to Miss Ying Zhu (3rd year PhD student) won first prize for her poster entitled "Elastic Scattering Spectroscopy for Detection of Cancer Risk: Removing Experimental Error" at the International Diffuse Reflectance Conference (IDRC) 2006 (pdf).