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Diffuse optical spectroscopy and imaging: Focus on breast cancer

Kolloquium der Abteilung 8

The physical principle of diffuse optical measurements (performed in the time domain at multiple wavelengths) will be introduced. In particular, it will be shown how diffuse optical spectroscopy allows the non-invasive estimation of tissue composition (water, lipid and collagen content), functional blood parameters, and information on the microscopic tissue structure.


The results of a clinical study carried out on 200 subjects with a home-built 7-wavelength (635 nm to 1060 nm) time domain optical mammograph will be presented: Optically derived tissue composition, and especially collagen content, proves useful to discriminate malignant from benign breast lesions, and to estimate cancer risk due to breast density, a major independent risk factor.


Recent technical upgrades of the instrument - based on SiPM (silicon photomultiplier) detection and time-to-digital converter acquisition - will be illustrated, discussing the performance improvement.


Finally, initial work on other biomedical applications of diffuse optical spectroscopy will be briefly outlined to show the diagnostic potential of the technique (e.g., to detect thyroid cancer or investigate the metabolism of adipose tissue).