operating room, petri dish

Medical & Biomedical Diagnostics

Biomedical science is one of the most exciting application areas of Raman spectroscopy because it can accomplish the diagnosis of disease at an early stage. Raman is a nondestructive technique that can be used for analysis including in vivo studies of tissues and cells. There is an increasing use of Raman for medical and biomedical science because Raman is an ideal technique for molecular fingerprinting and is sensitive to the chemical changes associated with disease. Furthermore, components in the tissue matrix, principally those associated with water and bodily fluids, give a weak Raman response, thereby improving sensitivity for those changes associated with a diseased state. Raman analysis of biopsy tissues has also been used to diagnose various cancers.

Raman spectroscopy is becoming more pervasive in biomedical diagnostics due to the demand for near real-time and minimally invasive analysis. Applications include: biopsies, cytology, drug efficacy studies, histopathology, surgical targets and treatment monitoring.

Some of the most active research areas are the analysis of abnormalities in tissue samples such as brain, arteries, breast, bone, cervix, embryonic media; and the identification of biomarkers for early stage detection of various diseases.

Raman has also been used to investigate blood disorders such as anemia, leukemia and thalassemia (inherited blood disorder), as well as understanding cell growth in bacteria, phytoplankton, viruses and other micro-organisms.


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Application Notes

Raman spectroscopy is a nondestructive and highly versatile technique for analysis of chemicals, both organic and inorganic. It is used in industry, bioscience, medical diagnosis, forensics, and many other areas.
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In this study, the feasibility of fluorescence background subtraction using a handheld spectrometer to differentiate several bacterial growth media, specifically in the presence and absence of bacteria was investigated. As SERS is often not practical for first responders and military personnel (because of time constraints, limited dexterity in personal protective equipment, and ease of use), a portable Raman spectrometer that utilizes a proprietary algorithm to subtract background fluorescence was tested. This baseline correction capability may allow for the interrogation of biologic materials that would otherwise “swamp” traditional handheld Raman instruments used in forensic analyses.
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A revolutionary method for identifying breast cancer in lymph nodes using Raman spectroscopy is being tested by researchers and surgeons at a UK hospital.
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The presentation will begin with an overview of the uses of Raman in a variety of biomedical applications, and then discuss one of the most active research areas for Raman biospectroscopy: cancer detection, focusing on research at the University of Utah on the development of a surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)–based immunoassay array for pancreatic cancer marker screening.
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In this webcast, Professor Robert Alfano discusses applications including brain assessment, cancer diagnosis and treatment, Alzheimer’s research, and multiphoton imaging–and explain what the approach enables that other methods cannot. He will also review spectroscopy tools available to advance research and clinical work.
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