Transparency Market Research (TMR), a market research company, highlights the prime application areas of biophotonics within research and medicine, thus throwing light on the condition of the market in the coming years.
- Diagnostics: Laser-induced fluorescence has emerged as an active research field within a number of nations. It is utilized for early diagnosis of cancer in the lungs and gastrointestinal tract. Normal tissue is differentiated from cancerous and precancerous sites on the basis of emitted color or spectrum of the light. Cancerous sites tend to emit less overall light at longer wavelengths. This difference in emission spectra is owing to the anatomical changes as well as the presence of numerous fluorescing biomolecules. Thus, physicians are able to identify the suspicious sites for carrying out biopsies.
- Therapeutics: Photodynamic therapy is approved as a new cancer treatment modality for a number of early-stage cancers as well as for palliative care. This therapy takes place by the systematic administration of a non-toxic drug known as a photosensitizer. A laser-provided red light is directed upon the tumor tissue, which is then absorbed by the photosensitizer, resulting in toxic components that are short-lived. The clinical utilization of photodynamic therapy is presently available for lung, brain, GI tract, skin, and prostate cancers.
- Biotechnology: Though modern biotechnology is all about the knowledge of molecular biology, the quantification and determination of mRNA and DNA are performed by optical methods in order to extract information, majorly via the utilization of fluorescent-labelled antibodies. This is seen in confocal fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry, and GeneChips. There are still certain limitations in the standard optical techniques within biotechnology and molecular biology, however, these limitations can be overcome via the utilization of better wavelength selectivity on the detection and source sites.