"RESEARCH TRIANGLE" CONCEPT
"Research triangles" with a veterinary
laser laboratory as the base for innovative biomedical laser
investigation, have been successful at several institutions including
Oklahoma State University (Figure 5). Physicists and laser engineers
play the major roles during this initial phase, but veterinarians,
physicians and other biomedical scientists also play an active
role in any investigation that may result in a clinical application.
The second phase of research and development
should logically involve cadaveric or large tissue studies that
might lead to live animal investigations. At this stage, veterinarians
can be the main catalysts for the advancement of biomedical laser
technology and laser-based therapeutic techniques. Their expertise
and training with multiple species and practical medical knowlege
can often expedite research projects and reduce the number of
animals needed for a study.
Objective studies often will prove some
applications to be impractical for clinical purposes. However,
it is essential to realize that although an idea or new device
may be impractical for mainstream veterinary medicine because
of high cost and limited availability, veterinay participation
on the biomedical research team is essential for both animal
care and for an objective understanding of the clinical uses
of biomedical lasers.
The third point of the research triangle
is the transfer of technology to the human health care provider
of commerial venturer who can then market the idea, instrumentation
or technique. With this exception in mind, industrial partners
and human health care organizations have sought and established
collaborations with veterinary biomedical laser programs.
Although a number of manufacturers such
as Luxa, Sharplan and Surgimedics have made concerted marketing
efforts focused on the veterinary profession, most practitioners
find biomedical lasers too expensive and limited in their applicability.
However, with trends in veterinary medicine toward minimally
invasive diagnosis and therapy, the use of lasers for both direct
and transendoscopic tissue ablation should become more popular.
Coupled with educational opportunities provided by both manufacturers
and academic or organizational outreach programs, veterinary
laser surgery and medicine could blossom in the next five years.
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