In a recent article in journal Radiology, researchers from UC Irvine and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign describe a method of using a laser to differentiate between benign and malignant tumors within breast tissue. The handheld scanner device in the study is based on frequency domain photon migration and watches the scattering and absorption of laser light as it moves through tissue. The technology, already proving itself effective in clinical trials, may bring a radiation-free modality to your breast cancer oncologist’s office.
From a UC Irvine press release:
Unlike mammograms, the scanner provides detailed metabolic information by measuring hemoglobin, fat and water content, as well as tumor oxygen consumption and tissue density. In the study, researchers found that potentially dangerous malignant tumors and benign tumors have different metabolic fingerprints.
Separately, the UCI laser breast scanner is proving beneficial in evaluating the effectiveness of chemotherapy by supplying detailed data on changes in breast tumor metabolism during treatments. This information, which can be accessed quickly at bedside, lets oncologists tailor chemotherapy based on how a patient responds.
Press release: Beyond mammography: Handheld laser scanner improves detection and treatment of breast cancer …
Abstract in Radiology: Characterization of Metabolic Differences between Benign and Malignant Tumors: High-Spectral-Resolution Diffuse Optical Spectroscopy
(hat tip: The Engineer)