November 30, 2004
First Minimally-Invasive Human Medical Procedure Using an OmniGuide Fiber to Deliver Laser Energy
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 30 /PRNewswire/ -- OmniGuide Communications Inc. (http://www.omni-guide.com/), a company developing the OmniGuide Fiber, a hollow-core cylindrical photonic bandgap optical fiber, announced today the successful completion of the first minimally-invasive procedure in a patient using a prototype OmniGuide Fiber to deliver CO2 laser energy. The procedure was performed by Dr. Jamie Koufman, the director of the Center for Voice and Swallowing Disorders of Wake Forest University at the Voice Center in Winston- Salem, North Carolina.
The patient, who was diagnosed with recurrent respiratory papillomas (RRP), suffered from near-total obstruction of the larynx (voice box) and trachea (the breathing tube that joins the throat and the lung). The patient's growths in the larynx and trachea were cleared using a CO2 laser delivered endoscopically with an OmniGuide Fiber. The patient was awake during the procedure. Other than spraying a numbing spray in the throat and trachea, the patient required no anesthesia.
CO2 lasers have been used to treat RRP for many years. In the past, these procedures could only be performed in the operating room, with the patient under general anesthesia. The OmniGuide Fiber allows use of the same CO2 laser technology, but in a clinic setting instead of in the operating room. With the OmniGuide Fiber used to deliver the laser energy through a flexible Pentax endoscope, the patient treated by Dr. Koufman was able to go home immediately following the procedure. FDA clearance for the OmniGuide Fiber is expected in early 2005.
Dr. Koufman pioneered work in laryngeal laser surgery, laryngopharyngeal reflux, laryngeal electromyography, laryngoplastic phonosurgery, and other forms of laryngeal (voice) rehabilitation surgery. She has won the Casselberry Award of the American Laryngological Association and the Broyles-Maloney Award of the American Broncho-Esophagological Association. She has published more than 100 peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters, and she has lectured extensively nationally and internationally.
Dr. Jamie Koufman said, "Unsedated, laryngeal laser surgery with the OmniGuide Fiber and the new Pentax optical scopes is a dream come true for me as an endoscopic surgeon, and the patient who had this surgery loved it because it was easy for her." She added, "OmniGuide has introduced a cutting- edge technology that will push out-patient laryngeal surgery to a new level; and, by moving most of laryngeal surgery out of the operating room and into the clinic, the cost savings per procedure will be measured in the tens of thousands of dollars, and the national cost savings will be huge."
Dr. Steve Sheng, OmniGuide's President & CEO said: "The ability to deliver a CO2 laser beam through a flexible fiber into a patient's body has been the dream of many surgeons for a long time. We are extremely pleased to see that the breakthrough hollow-core OmniGuide Fiber can indeed turn such a dream into reality. This pioneering work has opened the door for more effective treatments for many diseases."
The Center for Voice and Swallowing Disorders at the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, a leader in the field of laryngology and the voice, is nationally and internationally renowned (http://www.thevoicecenter.org/). To learn more about RRP visit http://www.rrpf.org/.
Yoel Fink, John Joannopoulos and Edwin Thomas, all faculty members at MIT, and Uri Kolodny, OmniGuide's Vice President of Marketing and Business Development, founded OmniGuide in May 2000, in order to commercialize patented research conducted at MIT on omnidirectional reflectors (Temelkuran et al. Nature 420, pp. 650-653 (2002)).
Based in Cambridge MA, where its corporate offices and labs are located, OmniGuide has an exclusive license from MIT on omnidirectional reflectors. The company has raised $29.5M from Ray Stata, Mukesh Chatter, Alliance Technology Ventures, 3i US, Westbury Partners, and Gainesborough Investments. OmniGuide's progress to date has captured broad attention in both scientific and popular venues.
OmniGuide Communications, Inc.
CONTACT: Uri Kolodny of OmniGuide Communications, [email protected],+1-617-551-8440
Web site: http://www.omni-guide.com/