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Measurements of Breast Tissue Optical Properties

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Annual rept. 30 Sep 1998-29 Sep 1999

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Near-infrared light offers unique possibilities for extracting physiological information from within biological tissues without injections, surgery, dangerous radiation, or great expense. Near-infrared light probes a centimeter deep or more, allowing non-invasive measurements below the skin surface. By separating tissue absorption from tissue scattering, near-infrared optical tissue spectroscopy quantifies the concentration and the oxygenation state of hemoglobin. Thus, one can characterize breast lesions and physiology in non- invasive fashion. Such information may provide new criteria for judging lesions as benign or malignant, and minimize the ambiguities and false-negatives encountered in conventional breast examinations. Optically monitoring physiological changes in breast tissue also provides a new way to look at disease progression and prevention. Using our custom-built instrument, we have observed in vivo changes in hemodynamics and structure that are characteristic of tumors. In addition, we have observed in vivo changes in breast tissue physiology resulting from hormone replacement therapy, menopausal status, and estrous cycle. Because our technique is safe, non invasive, and comparable in cost to ultrasound, patients can be studied as often as necessary without risk. Currently, we are preparing to perform extensive clinical measurements on women with breast tumors and on volunteers receiving hormone replacement therapy with estrogenprogesterone, tamoxifen, and raloxifene.

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  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medicine and Medical Research

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