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Open Access Review

Prospects for a novel ultrashort pulsed laser technology for pathogen inactivation

Shaw-Wei D Tsen1, Tzyy Choou Wu2345, Juliann G Kiang678 and Kong-Thon Tsen9*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, 63110, USA

2 Departments of Pathology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, 21231, USA

3 Departments of Oncology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, 21231, USA

4 Obstetrics and Gynecology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, 21231, USA

5 Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, 21231, USA

6 Scientific Research Department, Armed Forces Radiobiology Research Institute, 8901 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD, 20889-5603, USA

7 Department of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD, 20889-5603, USA

8 Department of Radiation Biology, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, 4301 Jones Bridge Road, Bethesda, MD, 20889-5603, USA

9 Department of Physics, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, 85287, USA

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Journal of Biomedical Science 2012, 19:62  doi:10.1186/1423-0127-19-62

Published: 6 July 2012

Abstract

The threat of emerging pathogens and microbial drug resistance has spurred tremendous efforts to develop new and more effective antimicrobial strategies. Recently, a novel ultrashort pulsed (USP) laser technology has been developed that enables efficient and chemical-free inactivation of a wide spectrum of viral and bacterial pathogens. Such a technology circumvents the need to introduce potentially toxic chemicals and could permit safe and environmentally friendly pathogen reduction, with a multitude of possible applications including the sterilization of pharmaceuticals and blood products, and the generation of attenuated or inactivated vaccines.