June 18, 2007 - Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have created the first three-dimensional optical images of human breast cancer in patients based on tissue fluorescence which relies on the presence of fluorophore molecules in tissue that re-radiate fluorescent light after illumination by excitation light of a different color.
The reconstructed images demonstrated significant tumor contrast compared to typical endogenous optical contrast in breast. Tumor-to-normal tissue contrast based on fluorescence diffuse optical tomography, or FDOT with the fluorophore Indocyanine Green, or ICG, was two-to-four-fold higher than contrast based on endogenous contrasts such as hemoglobin and scattering parameters obtained with traditional diffuse optical tomography, or DOT.
With the continued development of molecularly-targeted exogenous fluorophores, the research helps pave the way for diagnostic tools based on optics that will provide improved sensitivity and specificity between healthy and normal tissues.
Fluorophores are exquisitely sensitive to their local environment and therefore FDOT holds potential to provide information about tumor physiology, including tissue oxygen, tissue pH and tissue calcium concentration levels.
For more information: www.upenn.edu