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Ocean Optics Spectrometer Used in Cancer Detection System
Sep 2005
DUNEDIN, Fla., Sept. 20 -- A spectroscopy system from optical sensing specialist Ocean Optics forms the basis of a cancer detection system currently undergoing clinical trials. The company's CancerScanner technology uses a light source, probe and spectrometer to detect in vivo, rather than in the lab, alterations of cells from normal to precancerous and cancerous conditions.

Developed by the Bioscience Div. of the US Department of Energy, the technology for the detection system has been licensed to, and further developed by, SpectraPath Technologies. The company said it hopes the system will allow physicians to screen patients quickly and provide instant diagnoses without requiring invasive and time-consuming biopsies for skin, cervical, brain, esophageal and colorectal cancers.

At the heart of the system is Ocean Optics' USB2000 palm-sized spectrometer, which is used to analyze the elastic light-scattering spectrum produced by cellular nuclei. An LS-1 tungsten halogen light source and a single optical fiber probe illuminate the tissue surface, and the probe then captures the resulting electron spectrometer (ELS) spectrum.

Larger nuclei in cancerous and precancerous cells cause different ELS spectra than normal nuclei. The small, lightweight CancerScanner has so far been successfully tested in both animals and humans for a variety of cancer types.

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A kind of spectrograph in which some form of detector, other than a photographic film, is used to measure the distribution of radiation in a particular wavelength region.  
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