From Director Dave Pistion:
In November 2007, the Department of Defense appropriations bill significantly reduced the allocation for the Medical Free-electron Laser (FEL) program. After discussions with the University leadership, we have made the decision to begin shutting down the operation of the Mark III mid-IR FEL in June 2008. Several key military medicine projects will continue through 2008, and it is our top priority to support our graduate student trainees until they finish their degrees.
The entire FEL research team, and in particular the Center staff, is extremely proud of their accomplishments over the last 20 years, including the first human surgery with the FEL, over 500 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and more than 50 patents. The breadth and depth of this research is well beyond what could have been predicted when the center started in 1988.
See the Flash video showing how an FEL works, from Exploration Vanderbilt.
Check out the Exploration Vanderbilt article about the FEL Center. Thanks David Salisbury and crew!
The Vanderbilt Free-Electron Laser is the only free-electron laser in the world with an attached human surgical suite. This has allowed the first experimental human surgeries to take place here, exploring the utility of 6.45 micron laser light in (soft tissue) surgery.
December 19, 2003: Drs Joos and Mawn perform the fifth and final optic nerve sheath fenestration. Congrats to them and to Dr. Duco Jansen and Dr. Jin-Hui Shen for the beam delivery to the doctors hand, as well as the entire FEL crew. This is the last of the current surgical protocols.
November 15, 2002: Drs. Joos and Mawn perform the fourth optic nerve sheath fenestration.
June 15, 2001: Dr. Copeland performs the third FEL neurosurgery.
April 6, 2001: Drs. Joos and Mawn perform the third optic nerve sheath fenestration of the five in the protocol. They have also done several of the regular fenestrations using a knife or a scissors.
October 20, 2000: Drs. Joos and Mawn perform the second optic nerve sheath fenestration.
September 29, 2000: First eye surgery and third human surgery. Read the Vanderbilt Register article. Drs. Mawn and Joos performed the optic nerve sheath fenestration with the laser before an eye enucleation. They used a hollow fiber waveguide to deliver the IR beam into the surgical field for the first time. Dr. Jin-Hui Shin helped develop the delivery system.
September 15, 2000: Second brain tumor resection with the free-electron laser. Drs. Copeland, Thoms and Cramm performed the procedure.
December 17, 1999: First human surgery with a free-electron laser. Congratulations Drs. Copeland, Konrad and Cramm and to the patient. The procedure was a resection of a benign mengioma (brain tumor well isolated in the meninges). See the press release and the Register story, as well as a story from the Hindu.
Updated January 18, 2008. weg