OnLume Receives SBIR Support For Image-Guided Surgery Innovation

OnLume Inc., a medical device company developing novel surgical imaging technology, today announced support from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program to accelerate work on a fluorescence image-guided surgery (FIGS) system.

OnLume received the $300,000 Phase I SBIR grant through the National Cancer Institute (NCI) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the development of imaging and lighting systems for transient lighting in fluorescence image-guided surgery. A portion of the work is being performed in collaboration with researchers led by Kevin Eliceiri at the Morgridge Institute for Research and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

The SBIR program is highly competitive, encouraging small businesses to engage in federal research and development with the potential for commercialization.

FIGS systems use fluorescent dyes for real-time intraoperative imaging of subsurface blood vessels, perfusion, and cancer, in which residual cancerous cells give off light that surgeons may use to guide the removal of additional tissue. But the light-sensitive technology typically requires a darkened operating environment, limiting its use to surgeons and disrupting the treatment process.

OnLume transient lighting technology enables fluorescence-guided methods to work in the operating room without any discernible loss of light for surgeons.

“At OnLume, we believe that fluorescence guidance will play a major role in the future of surgery,” says Adam Uselmann, CEO of OnLume and principal investigator of the grant. “Being able to assess tissue function and delineate cancer in real time without interrupting existing surgical workflows will be a boon to surgeons across disciplines. The generous support of the NIH is enabling the research and development necessary to realize our vision.”

The field of fluorescence image-guided surgery is rapidly evolving and has broad clinical applications, such as more efficient and efficacious removal of tumors when used in conjunction with cancer-targeting fluorescent drugs.

One of the challenges to FIGS is eliminating light contamination from ambient room lighting, which impedes the fluorescence signal emitted from the patient during a surgical procedure. OnLume’s technology offers broad compatibility with fluorescent drugs across the fluorescent spectrum while eliminating the contaminating light.