Combined laser, ultrasound, and elasticity imaging for comprehensive diagnosis of cancer
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As cancer is pathologically and biologically complex, identifying a variety of information on its morphology, functionality, molecular composition, and biomechanics is desired for precise and personalized diagnosis and treatment. Medical ultrasound imaging is a relatively safe, cost-effective modality that provides a cross-sectional image of anatomy in real-time, but it suffers from low contrast and does not provide quantitative functional information on tissue for better detection and assessment of a suspicious lesion. To circumvent this limitation, researchers have introduced shear-wave elasticity imaging, which noninvasively measures Young’s modulus of tissue, spectroscopic photoacoustic imaging, which quantifies chromophores distribution in tissue, phase-change contrast agents, which are useful in imaging extravascular targets, and super-resolution imaging, which provides unprecedented spatial resolution beyond the diffraction limit for molecular imaging. This research engineers these methods to further improve their respective imaging capabilities. In addition, based on the improvements in each imaging method, this research introduces combined laser, ultrasound, and elasticity (CLUE) imaging that is uniquely capable of simultaneous and synergistic probing of acoustic, optical, and mechanical imaging contrast of tissue to provide comprehensive soft tissue assessment.