A Diffusive Probe for Quantification of Optical Properties of Superficial Layers
Background: Diffuse optical spectroscopy (DOS) has been successfully employed for quantitative determination of in vivo optical properties and chromophore concentrations of deep tissues such as breast and brain. This invention is a method and probe design for obtaining quantitative optical properties and chromophore concentrations of tissue components "in-vivo" at superficial depths and "short" source detector separations. This domain, in which the source and detector are in relatively close proximity to one another, has up until now, been a significant challenge for obtaining quantitative optical properties of tissue. Technology: Researchers at the University of California have developed a fiber-based spectroscopic technique that can be used to quantify optical properties in superficial layers of tissue. In the past, quantitative characterization of superficial epithelial tissues such as skin and oral mucosa has been difficult due to the limiting assumptions in the models that are employed to describe light propagation in these tissues. In order to overcome these limitations, UCI researchers have developed a diffusive probe that will allow reduction of the source-detector separation while maintaining the validity of the diffusion approximation. This novel method employs a high scattering, low absorption layer placed on the surface of the tissue under investigation. This effectively increases the photon path length and allows the source-detector separation to be made arbitrarily small. The approach can be used in free space or for quantitative measurements of chromophores in tissues that can be reached by an endoscope, catheter or similar device. Application: This present invention is particularly useful in obtaining quantitative optical properties and chromophore concentrations of tissue components in vivo at superficial depths and "short" source-detector separations. The probe is amenable to use in free space or in tissues that can be reached by endoscope or similar. Applications include but are not limited to: (1) glucose monitoring; (2) determining quantitative optical properties of skin and oral pre-cancers and cancers; (3) determining effectiveness of treatment for port wine stains at superficial layers of the skin; (4) quantitative monitoring of the changes in superficial tumors in response to therapy; (5) monitoring skin hydration; (6) determination of skin pigmentation (melanin); (7) monitoring of response of collagen to nonablative skin resurfacing and (8) bilirubin monitoring (neonates).
Another potential application of the method and probe design would be to determine quantitatively the concentrations and optical properties of the tissue components of the atherosclerotic plaque. It has become apparent that acute coronary syndromes are very often caused by the disruption of vulnerable plaque. Current interventional cardiology techniques cannot adequately differentiate between vulnerable and stable plaques in-vivo. If delivered intravascularly via catheter (typically tissue depths of interest for characterization of vulnerable plaque range from a few tens of microns to a few hundreds of microns), this method potentially enables the clinician the capacity to detect inflammatory changes in addition to subsurface pools of lipid that may characterize this pathology.
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