Advances in imaging tissue microstructure in living subjects, or in freshly excised tissue with minimum preparation and processing, are important for future diagnosis and surgical guidance in the clinical setting, particularly for application to cancer. Whilst microscopy methods continue to advance on the cellular scale and medical imaging is well established on the scale of the whole tumor or organ, it is attractive to consider imaging the tumor environment on the micro-scale, between that of cells and whole tissues. Such a scenario is ideally suited to optical coherence tomography (OCT), with the twin attractions of requiring little or no tissue preparation, and in vivo capability. OCT’s intrinsic scattering contrast reveals many morphological features of tumors, but is frequently ineffective in revealing other important aspects, such as microvasculature, or in reliably distinguishing tumor from uninvolved stroma. To address these shortcomings, we are developing several advances on the basic OCT approach. We are exploring speckle fluctuations to image tissue microvasculature and we have been developing several parametric approaches to tissue micro-scale characterization. Our approaches extract, from a three-dimensional OCT data set, a two-dimensional image of an optical parameter, such as attenuation or birefringence, or a mechanical parameter, such as stiffness, that aids in characterizing the tissue. This latter method, termed optical coherence elastography, parallels developments in ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging. Parametric imaging of birefringence and of stiffness both show promise in addressing the important issue of differentiating cancer from uninvolved stroma in breast tissue.
David D. Sampson, Lixin Chin, Peijun Gong, Philip Wijesinghe, Shaghayegh Es’haghian, Wesley M. Allen, Blake R. Klyen, Rodney W. Kirk, Brendan F. Kennedy, and Robert A. McLaughlin, "Parametric approaches to micro-scale characterization of tissue volumes in vivo and ex vivo: Imaging microvasculature, attenuation, birefringence, and stiffness
(Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 9703, Optical Biopsy XIV: Toward Real-Time Spectroscopic Imaging and Diagnosis, 97030M (Presented at SPIE BiOS: February 16, 2016; Published: 26 April 2016); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2218719.4848650673001.
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