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3 March 2014 Circulating tumor cell detection using photoacoustic spectral methods
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A method to detect and differentiate circulating melanoma tumor cells (CTCs) from blood cells using ultrasound and photoacoustic signals with frequencies over 100 MHz is presented. At these frequencies, the acoustic wavelength is similar to the dimensions of a cell, which results in unique features in the signal; periodically varying minima and maxima occur throughout the power spectrum. The spacing between minima depends on the ratio of the size to sound speed of the cell. Using a 532 nm pulsed laser and a 375 MHz center frequency wide-bandwidth transducer, the ultrasound and photoacoustic signals were measured from single cells. A total of 80 cells were measured, 20 melanoma cells, 20 white blood cells (WBCs) and 40 red blood cells (RBCs). The photoacoustic spectral spacing Δf between minima was 95 ± 15 MHz for melanoma cells and greater than 230 MHz for RBCs. No photoacoustic signal was detected from WBCs. The ultrasonic spectral spacing between minima was 46 ± 9 MHz for melanoma cells and 98 ± 11 for WBCs. Both photoacoustic and ultrasound signals were detected from melanoma cells, while only ultrasound signals were detected from WBCs. RBCs showed distinct photoacoustic spectral variations in comparison to any other type of cell. Using the spectral spacing and signal amplitudes, each cell type could be grouped together to aid in cell identification. This method could be used for label-free counting and classifying cells in a sample.
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Eric M. Strohm, Elizabeth S. L. Berndl, and Michael C. Kolios "Circulating tumor cell detection using photoacoustic spectral methods", Proc. SPIE 8943, Photons Plus Ultrasound: Imaging and Sensing 2014, 89430D (3 March 2014);

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