Raman spectroscopy provides a wealth of diagnostic information to the surgeon with in situ cancer detection and label-free histopathology in clinical practice. Raman spectroscopy is a developing optical technique which can analyze biological tissues with light scattering. The difference in frequencies between the incident light and the scattering light are called Raman shifts, which correspond to the vibrational energy of the molecular bonds. Raman spectrum gives information about the molecular structure and composition in biological specimens. We had been previously reported that Raman spectroscopy could distinguish various histological types of human lung cancer cells from normal cells in vitro. However, to identify and detect cancer diagnostic biomarkers in vivo on Raman spectroscopy is still challenging, because malignancy can be characterized not only by the cancer cells but also by the environmental factors including immune cells, stroma cells, secretion vesicles and extracellular matrix. Here we investigate morphological and molecular dynamics in both cancer cells and their environment in xenograft models and spontaneous metastasis models using Raman spectroscopy combined with fluorescence microscopy and photoluminescence imaging. We are also constructing a custom-designed Raman spectral imaging system for both in vitro and in vivo assay of tumor tissues to reveal the metastasis process and to evaluate therapeutic effects of anti-cancer drugs and their drug delivery toward the clinical application of the technique.
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