Researchers have demonstrated that Raman spectroscopy, an optical technique, can distinguish between benign and cancerous thyroid cells. The new study demonstrates Raman spectroscopy’s potential for improving thyroid cancer diagnosis, the ninth most common cancer in the United States, with over 50,000 new cases diagnosed yearly.
The promising results indicate that Raman spectroscopy has the potential to become a new optical modality that can help avoid invasive procedures used for thyroid cancer diagnosis by providing biochemical information that is currently unavailable. This could significantly impact the pathology field and lead to new methods of diagnosing other diseases.
According to the multidisciplinary team, their Raman spectroscopy approach can differentiate between healthy and cancerous human thyroid cells with 97 percent accuracy.
To their knowledge, they are the first to use human clinical thyroid cells to demonstrate that Raman spectroscopy can identify cancer subtypes at the single-cell level. In addition to testing it on more cells and patients, the researchers must apply the thyroid cancer diagnosis technique to cells obtained through fine needle aspiration and test it on samples where the pathologist is unsure whether the cells are benign or cancerous. They also intend to create an automated prototype system capable of performing Raman measurements and analysis with little human intervention.
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