The NEI 40th Anniversary Symposia Series

In Vivo Microscopy of the Tumor microenvironment using OCT

Benjamin Vakoc

High resolution, intravital multiphoton microscopy has provided powerful mechanistic insights into health and disease, and has become a common instrument in the modern biological laboratory. The requisite high numerical aperture and exogenous contrast agents that enable multiphoton microscopy, however, result in a limited capacity to investigate substantial tissue volumes or probe dynamic changes repeatedly over prolonged periods. Here, alternative techniques such as optical coherence tomography (OCT) can provide access to previously unexplored, critically important aspects of tumor biology. We highlight the use of OCT to enable simultaneous, rapid, and repeated measurement of microvasculature, lymphatic vessels, and tissue microstructure and composition over large volumes. We present measurements of tumor angiogenesis, lymphangiogenesis, tissue viability, thereby demonstrating the potential of OCT to facilitate the evaluation of cancer treatment strategies.

Benjamin Vakoc, Ph.D.

Benjamin Vakoc, Ph.D.
Harvard Medical School
Boston, MA

Benjamin Vakoc joined the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital in 2004 as a postdoctoral research following his Ph.D. work at Stanford University in the department of Applied Physics. At the Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Dr. Vakoc has focused his efforts toward the development of optical technologies for use in the diagnosis, treatment, and study of disease. Highlights include the development and preclinical demonstration of a high-speed optical coherence tomography (OCT) imaging system providing wide-field screening and therapy of esophageal precancers and the development of OCT instrumentation and methods to reveal the microenvironment of tumors in small animal models. In 2008, Dr. Vakoc was recommended for appointment to Assistant Professor at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine and the Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology program. In his laboratory, he is continuing his efforts to develop and translate optical technologies to applications in health and biology.