10 January 2014

CARS microscopy on its way to clinical translation

Stained histopathology is currently the gold standard for disease diagnosis but remains a subjective practice on processed tissue, taking from hours to days. More quantitative and rapid analysis could be provided by near-infrared Raman microspectroscopy, an attractive alternative which offers a noninvasive assay of the tissue without external staining or labeling. Since pathological changes are often preceded by microscopic chemical alterations, the obtained Raman hyperspectral image and data of the tissue can potentially be used as an early-stage phenotypic set of markers for tissue pathology. However, the weak Raman scattering of common biomolecules necessitates a long image acquisition time of several hours. Coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering (CARS) microscopy, a nonlinear optical variant of Raman microspectroscopy, holds the promise to shorten this time below minutes. Yet, there are still some restraints that limit the clinical translation of CARS microscopy. Although each of them can be overcome with advanced features, the implementation of one or a small number of these features often introduces more tradeoffs than benefits.

In a review article, Haohua Tu and Stephen A. Boppart from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (USA) discuss the six most outstanding technical barriers and six advanced features, including interferometry, that can be independently added into a standard but high-performance scheme to overcome these barriers. They also outline a strategy that would integrate multiple advanced features to overcome these barriers simultaneously, effectively reduce tradeoffs, and synergistically optimize CARS microscopy for clinical translation. The operation of the envisioned system incorporates coherent Raman micro-spectroscopy for identifying vibrational biomolecular markers of disease and single-frequency (or hyperspectral) Raman imaging of these specific biomarkers for real-time in vivo diagnostics and monitoring (Text contributed by K. Maedefessel-Herrmann)

See the original publication: Haohua Tu and Stephen A. Boppart, Coherent anti-Stokes Raman scattering microscopy: overcoming technical barriers for clinical translation, J. Biophotonics 7:1-2, 9-22 (2014); DOIhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1002/jbio.201300031

Round Robin Experiment

Raman spectroscopy has already proved its effectiveness in many cases for medical diagnostics such as for cancer, cardiovascular diseases and infections. However, there are no standards in the different working groups, e.g. for sample preparation, implementation of the Raman experiments, spectra pre-treatment, data evaluation, etc.In a round robin experiment, the required groundwork will take place in order to define standardised Raman measurement methods, which will be fundamental for establishing Raman spectroscopy for clinical diagnostic procedures.

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