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The University Health Network Uses Apollo's Fiber-Coupled Module to Study Cancer Treatment

2004 MDA Technology Applications Report -- Cancer Treatment

Have you ever tried to get a fever? Probably not. When most people get a fever, they take medicine to cure it. However, some doctors are beginning to use fevers as the cure. They have found it to be a natural defense the body employs to fight sickness, and they are purposefully inducing them in people that have diseases such as cancer.

The University Health Network (formerly Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Canada) is experimenting with a more targeted approach than elevating the temperature of the whole body. Using a fiber-coupled laser diode developed by Apollo Instruments, Inc., the hospital is studying the hyperthermia treatment of cancer by raising the temperature on the location of the cancer cells. Under the high-power beam of the laser, the temperature of the cells quickly increases. Cancer cells are less tolerable to high temperature than normal cells. Therefore, unlike conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, only the cancer cells are killed under the laser beam. The normal cells survive. Apollo’s superior beam-shaping technique and thin fiber-beam delivery system enables doctors to focus the beam more precisely on cancerinflicted areas of the body.

Advanced Beam-Shaping Optics
Achieving high brightness in high-power laser-diode beam delivery is a crucial step in the successful and efficient use of high-power laser diodes in many applications. Apollo Instruments has developed advanced beam-shaping optics in laser diode arrays (LDAs) that can substantially maintain brightness while increasing power output by beam combination. Apollo uses various configurations of specialized optical elements that shape and rearrange the beams to achieve high-efficiency and high-power coupling into an optical fiber. In one configuration, two groups of prisms are used to divide and rearrange the beams from the LDA. In another configuration, mirrors are used. Conventional LDAs are limited in power output and brightness due to optical design and focusing issues. To increase the power output of a standard LDA, more emitters are commonly added to a laser diode bar. Between the emitters are spaces of about 500 microns. This area is often referred to as “dead space” because it does not generate any light. The presence of the dead space decreases the brightness of the LDA devices. In addition, the raw output beam from an LDA is highly divergent and suffers from two asymmetries—astigmatism and an elliptical beam profile. When the noncircular, astigmatic, incoherent beam from the LDA is focused, the beam spot is greatly elongated. This is undesirable for most applications because the beam can not be focused. Apollo’s beam-shaping optics have enabled high-brightness and high-power laser diodes for fiber-coupled, collimated, or other solid-state laser devices.

Additional Applications
Medical: Can be used for dermatology treatment, hair removal, and some surgery applications to stop bleeding and heal blood vessels
Materials: Can provide metal treatment in the form of cutting, welding, and soldering, and is capable of welding plastic
Printing: Can create printing plates using computer-to-plate processing, which can make newspaper print plates with a direct-write laser, avoiding wastewater and other toxic materials

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