Advancing detection of oral cancer

mouth

More effective detection and diagnosis of oral cancer could result from an advance in noninvasive imaging of epithelial tissue by a Texas A&M University researcher who says her research has the potential to change the way doctors initially look for precancerous and cancerous areas in a patient’s mouth.

The imaging technique, which is detailed in the “Journal of Biomedical Optics,” is being developed by Kristen Maitland, assistant professor in the university’s Department of Biomedical Engineering. It combines two separate technologies – confocal microscopy and fluorescence lifetime imaging – to noninvasively evaluate both the structural changes of tissue as well as molecular changes that take place on a cellular and tissue level. These morphological and biochemical changes are key factors in determining if tissue is precancerous or cancerous, Maitland says.

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