A team of researchers from Exeter University (Exeter, UK) is to optimize the sensitivity and penetration depth of a Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS) system that has been shown to detect abnormalities in breast tissue.
For the first time, they will also evaluate the performance of the system on human breast tissue that has been removed during operations.
In the SORS system, signatures obtained as the light from a laser passes through the small bone-like crystals (calcifications) found in breast tissues are measured and these indicate if a benign or cancerous tissue is present.
For the first time, the researchers will also evaluate the performance of the system on human breast tissue that has been removed during operations.
While still in a very early stage of research, it is hoped the technique could ultimately lead to an instant diagnosis for breast cancer at the time of a mammogram. Currently when a mammogram picks up abnormalities, a follow up needle biopsy is required, meaning an extra trip to the hospital for patients, associated anxiety and further cost to healthcare providers.
"This technique could have a huge impact on those 75,000 patients a year in the UK having to return for additional biopsies, with associated anxiety, when they are found to have nothing wrong," says Professor Nicholas Stone from Exeter University.
Related articles on spectroscopy from Vision Systems Design that you might also find of interest.
1. Raman spectroscopy performs high-quality materials sorting
Nondestructive Raman spectroscopy leverages advanced cameras and spectrometers to sort recyclable materials by their light-scattering properties.
2. Spectroscopy aids brain tumor detection
UK researchers have shown that infrared and Raman spectroscopy - coupled with statistical analysis - can be used to differentiate between normal brain tissue and different tumor types.
3. Near infrared spectroscopy determines the hardness of corn grains
A near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy imaging technique can determine the hardness of corn grains without destroying them. The new technique could offer food processors savings in time and money compared to other methods for determining grain hardness.
4. Spectroscopy sniffs out fake spirits
Researchers at St. Andrew's University (St. Andrews, Fife, Scotland) are using a microfluidic device coupled with a laser-based near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy system to characterize whiskies and identify fakes.
-- Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design