– Dr. Kunal Mitra, Florida Tech associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, recently earned a $50,000 grant from the Florida Dept. of
Health to develop a new technique to locate lung cancer and tumors. His proposed technique, which involves the use of lasers, will add a high-tech approach
to the current array of location methods, which include X-rays, bronchoscopy, sputum assays and random biopsies.
Mitra’s technique of optical tomography uses a short pulse laser focused on the tissue to be probed. “Our intent is to non-invasively obtain information
about the interior of the tissue from the optical signals,” said Mitra.
“We expect this method to yield physiological information with a safer, simpler and less expensive system than the other types of methods. The method also
provides higher resolution, which is critical.”
Lung cancer accounts for 25 percent of all cancer deaths, making it the most common cause of cancer death among men and women in the United States. To
successfully treat lung cancer, locating and identifying a tumor is the first, critical step.
Mitra has previously explored optical tomography for biomedical imaging of tissues through funding from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and has done work
with short-pulse lasers under grants from the National Science Foundation, and Sandia National Laboratory.