Photoacoustic tomography (PAT) is able to image epileptic events as they are happening. The arrow in this image indicates the detected seizure.

Research

Phase-Contrast and Cellular Diffuse Optical Tomography of Breast Cancer

This research is aimed at developing and optimizing the emerging near-infrared (NIR) optical tomography that offers unparallel opportunity to access the molecular and cellular signatures in breast tissue. Both technological development and clinical studies are proposed in this application. The success of this research may allow us to detect breast cancer early and to image dense breasts with high sensitivity and specificity.

X-Ray Guided Diffuse Optical Tomography of Osteoarthritis

This research is aimed at optimizing tomographic x-ray guided three-dimensional diffuse optical tomography technology and clinically evaluating its potential for detecting osteoarthritis (OA), monitoring progression of OA and distinguishing between OA and psoriatic arthritis, all in the finger joints. Both technological development and significant clinical studies are proposed in this application.

In Vivo Cellular Diagnosis of Skin

The underlying hypothesis of this research is that single-scattered, polarized light spectroscopic methods combined with multiple-scattered, unpolarized light spectroscopy provide unprecedented tissue functional information and cellular structures for rapid noninvasive diagnosis of the skin cancer. Single-scattered light contains the tissue and cellular information from the epidermal layer of the skin, while multiple-scattered light includes the pertinent information from the deeper layers. Seven parameters (Hb, HbO2, melanin, cellular morphology and their derived information) have been extracted thus far and a pilot clinical study of 30 skin lesions suggests that combining these two optical spectroscopic techniques can differentiate benign from malignant skin lesions with an accuracy of better than 91%.

Microwave Imaging of Breast Cancer

X-ray mammography is the current clinical tool used for breast cancer detection. However, mammography is ionizing radiation and has unacceptable false negative rate for patients with radiodense breast tissues. These patients represent the general population of premenopausal women as well as those with fibrocystic tissue disease. Yet, cancer in younger women tends to be more virulent and grow faster. Consequently, there is a critical need to seek alternatives that could overcome the problems associated with x-ray mammography and that could become an excellent adjunct tool to conventional x-ray mammography. In this research we hypothesize that tomographic microwave imaging methods combined with ultrasound imaging provide a strong basis for a high-contrast/high-resolution multi-modality imaging methodology with clinical relevance to the early detection and diagnosis of breast cancer. Our pilot clinical studies have shown that breast tumors can be detected using microwave imaging. We have also demonstrated that the spatial resolution of microwave imaging can be significantly enhanced by incorporating the structural maps obtained from ultrasound imaging. In this project, we will continue the development of finite element-based reconstruction algorithms for model-based microwave imaging. We will also design, construct and test a combined ultrasound/microwave imaging system for breast cancer detection using both laboratory and clinical experiments.

Fluorescence Molecular Tomography of Margin Identification of Breast Cancer

Breast-conserving surgery or lumpectomy is the most common surgical procedure for patients with early invasive stages of breast cancer. However, there is no accurate method to identify tumor margins pre- or intra-operatively. To develop a sensitive approach for the detection of residual tumors in breast tissues, we have developed the Cy5.5 ATF-IO tumor targeted nanoparticles, and in combination with sensitive and high resolution NIR fluorescence tomography system, should have great potential for determining tumor margins during surgery, preventing tumor reoccurrence and therefore, increasing survival of breast cancer patients.

Photoacoustic Imaging of Epilepsy

Approximately 2.5 million Americans live with epilepsy and epilepsy-related deficits today. However, 80% individuals with medication resistant epilepsy might be cured through surgery if one were able to precisely localize the seizure focus. Our research aims to significantly advance the ability to localize such foci, and thereby offer curative epilepsy surgery for this devastating disease. Photoacoustic tomography (PAT) uniquely combines the high contrast advantage of optical imaging and the high resolution advantage of ultrasound imaging in a single modality. In addition to high resolution structural information, PAT is also able to provide functional information that are strongly correlated with regional or focal seizure activity, including blood volume and blood oxygenation because of the high sensitivity of optical contrast to oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin concentrations, and thus offers the possibility to non-invasively track dynamical changes during seizure occurrence.

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