Raman Spectroscopy for Ultra-Sensitive Salivary Diagnosis and Radiotherapy Treatment Monitoring of Oral Cancer

Molecular and Biomolecular Physics Department

National Institute for Research and Development of Isotopic and Molecular Technologies

Summary of the project:

· Oral cancer is the sixth most common type of cancer worldwide and the current diagnosis relies on clinical investigations and histopathological examinations, with a high risk of clinically undetected cancerous lesions in hidden areas. The development of new methods and protocols for screening and early detection of oral cancer is of great importance.

· Saliva could be a promising sample for screening diagnosis due to the proteins and nucleic acids it contains, that can reflect the health status of an individual, and could act as potential biomarkers for oral cancer diagnosis. Moreover, saliva is easily-accessible and can be collected non-invasively. If salivary biomarkers are identified, they could provide, from a clinical point of view, a fast and economical tool for diagnosis and  treatment monitoring.

· The objective of this project is to develop a method based on label-free Raman and/ or surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) for the analysis of the biomolecular composition of saliva from healthy and oral cancer patients. We aim to identify salivary spectral biomarkers specific to oral cancer and use them for oral cancer diagnosis and ionizing radiation treatment monitoring by employing chemometrics methods. Additionally, we intend to report on the capability of a portable Raman spectrometer to identify the spectral biomarkers in saliva sample in situ. 

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