Mitra's technique of optical tomography uses a short pulse laser focused on the tissue to be probed. "Our intent is to non-invasively obtain information about the interior of the tissue from the optical signals," said Mitra.
"We expect this method to yield physiological information with a safer, simpler and less expensive system than the other methods. The method also provides higher resolution, which is critical."
Lung cancer accounts for 25 percent of all cancer deaths, making it the most common cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States. To successfully treat lung cancer, locating and identifying a tumor is the first, critical step.
Mitra has previously explored optical tomography for biomedical imaging of tissues through funding from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and has done work with short-pulse lasers under grants from the Florida Dept. of Health, National Science Foundation and Sandia National Laboratory.