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Detecting Human Skin Cancer using a Handheld Confocal Microscopy and Raman Spectroscopy System

In conjunction with Montana State University, our lab has developed a handheld imaging device that uses an 830 nm laser and a MEMS mirror to produce a confocal microscopy image of human skin in vivo at various tissue depths throughout the epidermis and dermis. The confocal imaging system provides microscopy images of the tissue cells in vivo in real-time, rather than needing to perform histological analysis on biopsied tissues. In addition to the confocal images obtained, the laser source is also used to perform Raman spectroscopy with the same handpiece. Once a tissue depth of interest is obtained using confocal imaging, a Raman spectrum is collected with an average of three 30 second images. These images can then be used for spectroscopic analysis for cancer detection. When combined, the confocal/Raman imaging system allows dermatologist to determine the location for Raman spectroscopy collection which provides above 90th percentile sensitivity and specificity for skin cancer detection. Eventually, this should allow for nearly instant diagnosis of skin cancer, as compared to the typical week needed for histological biopsy analysis.


C. A. Patil, H. Krishnamoorthi, D. L. Ellis, T.G. Van Leeuwen, and A. Mahadevan-Jansen, “A Clinical Instrument for Combined Raman Spectroscopy-Optical Coherence Tomography of Skin Cancers” In preparation.

C. A. Patil, J. Kalkman, D. J. Faber, N. Bosschaart, J.S. Nyman, T.G. Van Leeuwen, and A. Mahadevan-Jansen, “Integrated System for Combined Raman Spectroscopy-Spectral Domain Optical Coherence Tomography,” submitted for publication in Optics Express

C.A. Patil, H. Krishnamoorthi, D.L. Ellis, T.G. van Leeuwen, and A. Mahadevan-Jansen. “A Clinical Probe for Combined Raman spectroscopy - optical coherence tomography for evaluation of skin cancers.” Paper 7548A-20 presented at SPIE Photonics West, San Francisco, California, January 23-28, 2010.