Mobile fiber-optic sensor for detection of oral and cervical cancer in the developing world

Bing Yu, Vivek Krishna Nagarajan, Daron Gale Ferris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Oral and cervical cancers are a growing global health problem that disproportionately impacts women and men living in the developing world. The high death rate in developing countries is largely due to the fact that these countries do not have the appropriate medical infrastructure and resources to support the organized screening and diagnostic programs that are available in the developed world. Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy (DRS) with a fiber-optic probe can noninvasively quantify the optical properties of epithelial tissues and has shown the potential as a cost-effective, easy-to-use, and sensitive tool for diagnosis of early precancerous changes in the cervix and oral cavity. However, current fiber-optic DRS systems have not been designed to be robust and reliable for use in developing countries. They are subject to various sources of systematic or random errors, arising from the uncontrolled probe-tissue interface and lack of real-time calibration, use bulky and expensive optical components, and require extensive training. This chapter describes a portable DRS device that is specifically designed for detection of oral and cervical cancers in resource-poor settings. The device uses an innovative smart fiber-optic probe to eliminate operator bias, state-of-the-art photonics components to reduce size and power consumption, and automated software to reduce the need of operator training. The size and cost of the smart fiber-optic DRS system may be further reduced by incorporating a smartphone based spectrometer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)155-170
Number of pages16
JournalMethods in Molecular Biology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Diffuse reflectance spectroscopy
  • Fiber-optic sensor
  • Oral and cervical cancers
  • Smartphone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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