Laser Tattoo Removal System Using Dermal Clearing Agent

Period of Performance: 04/23/2001 - 10/22/2002


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Biotex, Inc.
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION: (Verbatim) - In recent years, the popularity of tattooing has grown tremendously with over 10 million Americans now believed to have one or more tattoos. Along with this demand for tattoos comes an increased demand for tattoo removal. A limitation of laser tattoo removal is that lasers which are most effective at removing red and yellow inks are also more highly scattered by tissue and their delivery is therefore less efficient. In all cases, reduced efficiency of radiation delivery mandates multiple treatments. In this phase I study we propose to increase the efficacy of laser tattoo treatment by introducing an agent which temporarily and dramatically reduces scatter in the dermis and epidermis. Reduction of the optical scattering coefficient of the intervening skin increases the overall effective transmittance of the skin and allows for better penetration of the laser to the target tattoo inks. In turn, this allows for lower irradiation fluence levels and a reduction in non-specific heating. In this project, we will compare the efficacy of our new treatment to that of conventional laser tattoo treatment in well-established animal models. We expect this effort to lead toward the development of a dual wavelength system that utilizes dermal clearing to more efficiently remove tattoos. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION: The proposed technology could lead to improved efficiency of laser tattoo removal which will make this procedure faster, more affordable, and therefore more accessible. Further, the technique has potential importance to other applications including hair removal, portwine stain treatment, and treatment of "spider" veins. The market potential of such procedures currently exceeds $750 million annually, and with improved speed and effectiveness, should increase dramatically. Formulation of and development of a delivery methodology for dermal clearing agents represent enabling technologies which will be a crucial part of commercial tattoo removal therapy.