Hyper-spectral diffuse reflectance spectroscopy imaging towards the identification of non-melanoma skin cancers
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Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most prevalent malignancy in the world, with over a million annual positive diagnoses in the United States. If left untreated, these cancers cause morbidity and in rare cases, can become life threatening. The key to identifying and characterizing these tumors in the earliest stages, where they are most treatable lie in margin delineation in order to prevent recurrence. The visual obscurity of tumor morphology and physiology can make early detection a difficult task for dermatologists, particularly in the initial stages of cancer development. Tumor resection is a common course of action once they are discovered; however, there is a high recurrence rate due to incomplete removal of the malignant tissue. This dissertation presents an imaging system that can capture the spectral signatures correlating with morphological and physiological changes that accompany skin dysplasia. With this system, we may improve tumor margin delineation, reducing the number of incomplete tumor biopsies and false negative screenings. As an initial step of this process, we begin with a non-contact point sampling diffuse reflectance probe that mitigates the adverse effects of traditional contact probing. Validation of this probe is performed using tissue simulating phantoms spanning a biologically relevant range of optical and physiological properties to ensure that the non-contact format will not hinder performance relative to the contact probe. Cross polarization and auto-focus mechanisms were included in the design to reduce specular reflections and movement artifacts from in vivo measurements. This non-contact design was further developed into a platform for investigating the role of sampling geometry on diffuse reflectance measurements with the addition of a DMD spatial filter. Finally, we developed a hyperspectral DRSi system for the acquisition of wide-field maps of optical and physiological properties that is currently being tested on patients undergoing skin cancer screenings. The spectral output of this system has been validated for scattering and absorption across biologically relevant ranges using tissue simulating phantoms. The DRSi system was optimized for portability, ergonomics and resolution.