20 February 2018 Toward noninvasive detection and monitoring of malaria with broadband diffuse optical spectroscopy
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Despite numerous advances, malaria continues to kill nearly half a million people globally every year. New analytical methods and diagnostics are critical to understanding how treatments under development affect the lifecycle of malaria parasites. A biomarker that has been gaining interest is the "malaria pigment" hemozoin. This byproduct of hemoglobin digestion by the parasite has a unique spectral signature but is difficult to differentiate from hemoglobin and other tissue chromophores. Hemozoin can be detected in blood samples, but only utilizing approaches that require specialized training and facilities.

Diffuse optical spectroscopy (DOS) is a noninvasive sensing technique that is sensitive to near-infrared absorption and scattering and capable of probing centimeter-deep volumes of tissue in vivo. DOS is relatively low-cost, does not require specialized training and thus potentially suitable for use in low-resource settings. In this work, we assess the potential of DOS to detect and quantify the presence of hemozoin noninvasively and at physiologically relevant levels. We suspended synthetic hemozoin in Intralipid-based tissue-simulating phantoms in order to mimic malaria infection in multiply-scattering tissue. Using a fiber probe that combines frequency-domain and continuous-wave broadband DOS (650-1000 nm), we detected hemozoin concentrations below 250 ng/ml, which corresponds to parasitemia sensitivities comparable to modern rapid diagnostic tests. We used the experimental variability to simulate and estimate the sensitivity of DOS to hemozoin in tissue that includes hemoglobin, water, and lipid under various tissue oxygen saturation levels. The results indicate that with increased precision, it may be possible to detect Hz noninvasively with DOS.
© (2018) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Chris Campbell, Chris Campbell, Bruce J. Tromberg, Bruce J. Tromberg, Thomas D. O'Sullivan, Thomas D. O'Sullivan, "Toward noninvasive detection and monitoring of malaria with broadband diffuse optical spectroscopy", Proc. SPIE 10501, Optical Diagnostics and Sensing XVIII: Toward Point-of-Care Diagnostics, 105010F (20 February 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2291137; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2291137

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