Photoacoustic imaging (PAI) is an emerging biomedical imaging technology, which can potentially be used in the clinic to preoperatively measure melanoma thickness and guide biopsy depth and sample location. We recruited 27 patients with pigmented cutaneous lesions suspicious for melanoma to test the feasibility of a handheld linear-array photoacoustic probe in imaging lesion architecture and measuring tumor depth. The probe was assessed in terms of measurement accuracy, image quality, and ease of application. Photoacoustic scans included single wavelength, spectral unmixing, and three-dimensional (3-D) scans. The photoacoustically measured lesion thickness gave a high correlation with the histological thickness measured from resected surgical samples (r=0.99, P<0.001 for melanomas, r=0.98, P<0.001 for nevi). Thickness measurements were possible for 23 of 26 cases for nevi and all (6) cases for melanoma. Our results show that handheld, linear-array PAI is highly reliable in measuring cutaneous lesion thickness in vivo, and can potentially be used to inform biopsy procedure and improve patient management.
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer and is the most difficult to diagnose and stage. Knowing
the thickness of melanoma and its level of invasion into cutaneous tissue is the most important factor [1, 2] in
determining a patient’s prognosis [3, 4]. Detection of melanoma is typically done by clinical inspection of
lesion morphology, followed by lesion excision and histological assessment of the resected specimen. To
improve assessment and diagnosis of melanoma and other pigmented lesions, various non-invasive imaging
techniques, including photoacoustic (PA) imaging, have been investigated. PA imaging is a non-invasive
imaging modality which combines laser light with ultrasound, and can be used to image pigmented skin lesion
morphology [5-7] due the high absorption of melanin in the visible and near-infrared wavelength rage. In this
study we investigate the clinical usefulness of PA imaging in diagnosing and assessing pigmented skin lesions
such as melanoma and melanocytic nevi. Pre-operative PA images of patients with suspected cases of cutaneous
melanoma were taken with the Vevo Lazr® 2100 PA imaging system at several wavelengths. The distribution
and maximum thickness of suspect lesions was determined by imaging at 700 nm, and the surrounding
vasculature was imaged at 900 nm. Information obtained from the PA images was compared with histological
examination of resected surgical specimens.
Photoacoustic imaging (PAI) with a linear-array-based probe can provide a convenient means of imaging the human microcirculation within its native structural context and adds functional information. PAI using a multielement linear transducer array combined with multichannel collecting system was used for in vivo volumetric imaging of the blood microcirculation, the total concentration of hemoglobin (HbT), and the hemoglobin oxygen saturation (sO2) within human tissue. Three-dimensional (3-D) PA and ultrasound (US) volumetric scans were acquired from the forearm skin by linearly translating the transducer with a stepper motor over a region of interest, while capturing two-dimensional images using 15, 21, and 40 MHz frequency transducer probes. For the microvasculature imaging, PA images were acquired at 800- and 1064-nm wavelengths. For the HbT and sO2 estimates, PA images were collected at 750- and 850-nm wavelengths. 3-D microcirculation, HbT, and sO2 maps of the forearm skin were obtained from normal subjects. The linear-array-based PAI has been found promising in terms of resolution, imaging depth, and imaging speed for in vivo microcirculation imaging within human skin. We believe that a reflection type probe, similar to existing clinical US probes, is most likely to succeed in real clinical applications. Its advantages include ease of use, speed, and familiarity for radiographers and clinicians.
Nanoparticle contrast agents for molecular targeted imaging have widespread interest in diagnostic applications with cellular resolution, specificity and selectivity for visualization and assessment of various disease processes. Of particular interest is gold nanoparticle owing to its tunability of the surface plasmon resonance (SPR) and its relative inertness. Here we present the synthesis of anisotropic multi-branched star shaped gold nanoparticles exhibiting dual-band plasmon absorption peaks and its application as a contrast agent for multispectral photoacoustic imaging. The transverse plasmon absorption peak of the synthesised dual plasmonic gold nanostar (DPGNS) was around 700 nm and that of longitudinal plasmon absorption in the longer wavelength region around 1050-1150 nm. Unlike most reported PA contrast agent with surface plasmon absorption in the range of 700 to 800 nm showing moderate tissue penetration, 1050-1200 nm range lies in the farther region of the optical window of biological tissue where scattering and the intrinsic optical extinction of endogenous chromophores is at its minimum. We also present a proof of principle demonstration of DPGNS as contrast agent for multispectral photoacoustic animal imaging. Our results show that DPGNS are promising for PA imaging with extended-depth imaging applications.
In this work photoacoustic imaging (PAI) based on multi element linear-array transducer, combined with multichannel collecting system was used for in vivo imaging of microcirculation of the human forearm. The Vevo® 2100 LAZR PAT system (VISUALSONICS) was used for imaging which simultaneously collects high-resolution ultrasound and photoacoustic signals. 3D PA and high frequency ultrasound scans, measured 30.5 mm (length) x 14.1 mm (width) x 10 mm (depth) were acquired from the area of forearm skin using 40 MHz frequency transducer at 860 nm wavelength. 3D structural and functional (microcirculation) maps of the forearm skin were obtained. The multi element linear-array transducer based PAI has been found promising in terms of resolution, imaging depth and imaging speed for in vivo microcirculation imaging within human skin.