Developing Fibre Optic Raman Spectroscopy Probes for Cancer Diagnosis

Lead Research Organisation: UNIVERSITY OF EXETER
Department Name: Physics


Cancer will affect 50% of us in our lifetime and 25% of us will succumb to the disease. Early accurate detection and diagnosis is needed to provide the effective treatment regimes, however current methods are often insufficiently sensitive to early disease, or those that will progress to advanced cancers.
We have pioneered the technique of Raman spectroscopy (RS) as a diagnostic tool for early identification of cancers. It utilises light to provide a real-time analysis or biochemical fingerprint of human cells, tissues, biofluids. It has been shown that RS is able to distinguish between pre-cancerous, cancerous and healthy tissue in the laboratory.
Early prototype fibre probes for use in vivo have been developed and tested for use down an endoscope for hollow organ analysis, for use on the end of a smart needle and for near patient assessment of excised tissues.
This project will further develop the Raman probes for point of care testing to maximise performance for specific applications of interest. This may involve coupling to complimentary imaging technologies.
We plan to construct a smart needle to provide a real-time in vivo molecular analysis of tissue pathology at the tip of a needle. We will perform laboratory based ex vivo Raman analysis of tissue samples to optimise the specifications of the probe and make it fit for purpose. We will then undertake more advanced clinical validation studies and explore both spectral diagnostic and prognostic markers.
To develop, build and test a smart needle device able to provide real-time, in vivo identification of malignancies using a fine fibre-optic Raman needle. The device will provide immediate results based on tissue biochemistry and allow for a rapid method for biopsy targeting or in vivo diagnosis.
1) Build prototype with disposable needle tips able to measure required signatures in human tissues, to include sample volume and anatomical access requirements.
2) Utilise device to provide signals from ex vivo tissue specimens.
3) Build and test diagnostic models using these signals and compare results to gold standard histopathology.
4) Evaluate probe performance in a clinical point of care setting


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/R513210/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2023
2074489 Studentship EP/R513210/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2022 Hannah Sheridan