Cancer, such as oral and cervical cancer, is a growing global health problem that disproportionately impacts the developing world. Each year, over 481,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed worldwide, with a 5- year mortality of ~50% and nearly two-thirds of which occurs in developing world. Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in women with an incidence and death rate of 16 and 9 per 100,000 women, respectively, and 80% of cases occur in the developing world. The high death rate in developing countries is largely due to the fact that these countries do not have the appropriate infrastructure and resources to support the organized screening and diagnostic programs that are available in the U.S. The optical absorption and scattering properties of epithelial tissues reflect their underlying physiological and morphological properties. Optical spectroscopy, particularly diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, can be used to noninvasively quantify these tissue properties and has shown promise for diagnosis of early precancerous changes in the cervix and oral cavity by our group as well as others. The long term objective of this proposal is to develop a portable, easy-to-use and low cost, yet accurate and reliable optical device that can aid in the screening and diagnosis of oral and cervical cancer at an early stage and that is well suited for use in a low-resource setting. The objective of the proposed research is to develop a portable, low-power consumption, smart fiber-optic sensor and to establish its performance metrics on tissue-mimicking phantoms and healthy oral tissues. The goals will be achieved by the use of state-of-the-art photonics components, such as LEDs and USB spectrometers, and an innovative smart fiber-optic probe. The smart probe will integrate into a single fiber-optic probe a sample channel for tissue optical spectroscopy, a self-calibration channel for real-time instrument calibration, and an interferometric pressure sensor for the control of the probe pressure at the probe-to-tissue interface.
The specific aims of the proposed work are: (1) design and construction of the smart sensor system for performing visible diffuse reflectance spectroscopy of epithelial tissues in vivo; (2) verification of the accuracy of the smart sensor system in extraction of optical properties on tissue phantoms and in measuring pressure in a pressure test chamber; and (3) an evaluation of the effects of probe pressure on the measured tissue parameters and how well the probe pressure can be controlled with the smart sensor in healthy volunteers. Successful completion of the objectives of this research will result in a compact smart fiber-optic sensor system which will be demonstrated to obtain accurate, reproducible and quantitative measurements of tissue absorption and scattering contrast with applications to global health screening of cervical and oral cancers. Future research efforts will focus on deploying this technology for testing early screening strategies in resource poor environments. Dr. Ramanujam with whom the PI collaborates has a Duke Global health grant to initiate optical spectroscopy studies on patients suspected to have cervical cancer in Haiti.

Public Health Relevance

The goal of this R03 proposal is to develop a portable, low power-consumption, and low-cost smart fiber-optic sensor device that can be used to obtain accurate, reproducible and quantitative measurements of absorption and scattering contrast of intact tissues with applications to global health screening of cervical and oral cancers. The proposed research is significantly relevant to public health due to the potential to contribute to the improvement of screening oral and cervical cancer, and thus the reduction of mortality rate worldwide.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Small Research Grants (R03)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-SBIB-J (90))
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Korte, Brenda
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University of Akron
Biomedical Engineering
Schools of Engineering
United States
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Yu, Bing; Shah, Amy; Wang, Bingqing et al. (2014) Measuring tumor cycling hypoxia and angiogenesis using a side-firing fiber optic probe. J Biophotonics 7:552-64