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Infrared Based Imaging System Detects Tiny Tumors

Infrared Based Imaging System Detects Tiny Tumors

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the U.S. tracked tiny tumors in living mice with the help of their newly designed imaging system.

The new imaging sytem is named ‘DOLPHIN’ and can track tiny tumor of the size less than 0.1-millimeter using near-infrared light. The researchers used DOLPHIN to track a tiny fluorescent tumor in the digestive tract of a living mouse. The result of the study was published in the journal Scientific Reports in March 2019.

The researchers demonstrated the use of the tiny device in detecting and tumor and signal to a tissue depth of eight centimeters. This imaging system is superior to the existing biomedical optical imaging technique and is able to penetrate deeper and provide accurate signal.

Swati Kataria, graduate student at MIT, says, “Commonly used scans such as X-ray computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can image through the whole body. However, they can not reliably identify tumours until they reach about one centimetre in size.”

The researchers are aiming to use the imaging system for determining early diagnosis of ovarian and other cancers that are currently difficult to detect until late stages. The existing devices are unable to image deeper than about three centimeters into tissue.

Angela Belcher, a professor at MIT and researcher of the study, said: “We want to be able to find cancer much earlier. Our goal is to find tiny tumors, and do so in a noninvasive way.”

Using hyperspectral imaging, the researchers were able to gather simultaneous imaging in multiple wavelengths of light. They used different near-infrared fluorescent light-emitting probes to test the system for detecting tiny tumors. They were able to determine the depth of the tumor using the probe system.

This optical imaging technique is first of its kind, and we hope this would help in early diagnosis of various form of cancers and other diseases in the near future.


Rajkumar Bisen
Rajkumar Bisen,

Anagha Kulkarni
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