Optical Tomography System for Breast Cancer Imaging
Breast cancer causes about 40,000 deaths a year, with one in eight women being diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime. Diffuse optical tomography (DOT) has been explored over the past decade as an alternative modality for cancer diagnosis and therapy monitoring. DOT uses near-infrared light to illuminate tissue from multiple points, and detects the light that has passed through the tissue. Growing tumors require an increased number of blood vessels to provide nutrients and remove waste products. However, the new vessels are poorly formed and tend to be disorganized and leaky. Diffuse optical tomography can visualize these vascular changes by the increased levels of oxy- and deoxy-hemoglobin in the tumor region. While these tumor characteristics can be used in detecting and diagnosing breast cancer, they can also be used to predict tumor response to chemotherapy. Currently we have a dynamic optical imaging system that is capable of imaging both breasts simultaneously. We can use the data collected from the system to reconstruct three-dimensional images that show concentrations of oxy- and deoxy-hemoglobin. Also, we can track of how concentrations change inside the breast over time when the patient holds her breath. Here, we present a novel approach to breast cancer detection and monitoring.