We develop a double-differential spectroscopic analysis method for broadband near-infrared (NIR, 650 to 1000 nm) absorption spectra. Application of this method to spectra of tumor-containing breast tissue reveals specific cancer biomarkers. In this method, patient-specific variations in molecular composition are removed by using the normal tissue as an internal control. The effects of concentration differences of the four major tissue absorbers (oxyhemoglobin, deoxyhemoglobin, water, and bulk lipid) between the tumor and normal tissue are accounted for to reveal small spectral components unique to cancer. From a pilot study of 15 cancer patients, we find these spectral components to be characterized by specific NIR absorption bands. Based on the spectral regions of absorption at about 760, 930, and 980 nm, we identify these biomarkers with changes in state or addition of lipid and/or water. To quantify spectral variation in the absorption bands, we construct the specific tumor component (STC) index. The STC index identifies regions of the breast with tumors.
We developed a spectral technique that is independent of the light transport modality (diffusive or nondiffusive) to separate optical changes in scattering and absorption in the cat's brain due to the hemodynamic signal following visual stimulation. We observe changes in oxyhemoglobin and deoxyhemoglobin concentration signals during visual stimulation reminiscent of the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) blood oxygenation level dependence (BOLD) effect. Repeated measurements at different locations show that the observed changes are local rather than global. We also determine that there is an apparent large decrease in the water concentration and scattering coefficient during stimulation. We model the apparent change in water concentration on the separation of the optical signal from two tissue compartments. One opaque compartment is featureless (black), due to relatively large blood vessels. The other compartment is the rest of the tissue. When blood flow increases due to stimulation, the opaque compartment increases in volume, resulting in an overall decrease of tissue transmission. This increase in baseline absorption changes the apparent relative proportion of all tissue components. However, due to physiological effects, the deoxyhemoglobin is exchanged with oxyhemoglobin resulting in an overall increase in the oxyhemoglobin signal, which is the only component that shows an apparent increase during stimulation.