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Non-invasive assessment of collagen arrangement and quantity in biological tissue

Jessica Ramella-Roman, PhD

The extra-cellular space in connective tissue of animals and humans alike is comprised in large part of collagen. Monitoring of collagen arrangement and cross-linking has been utilized to diagnose a variety of medical conditions and guide surgical intervention. For example, collagen monitoring is useful in the assessment and treatment of cervical cancer, skin cancer, myocardial infarction, and non-arteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy. We have developed a suite of tools and models based on polarized light transfer for the assessment of collagen presence, cross-linking, and orientation in living tissue. Here we will present some example of such approach applied to the human cervix. We will illustrate a novel Mueller Matrix (MM) imaging system for the study of cervical tissue; furthermore we will show how our model of polarized light transfer through cervical tissue compares to the experimental findings. Finally we will show validation of the methodology through histological results and Second Harmonic imaging microscopy.

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