A new special issue of the Journal of Biophotonics, edited by Christoph Krafft and Benjamin Bird, reports an important summary of recent efforts in the exciting and rapidly expanding field of biomedical vibrational spectroscopy. Medical diagnostics is a varied field, ranging from the identification of abnormal cells within tissue and exfoliates, to the detection of distinct bacterial and viral strains.
Over the past 15 years or so, a number of vibrational spectroscopic methods have been developed. Raman and infrared spectroscopic techniques allow the rapid and sensitive characterisation of sample chemistry and are reliant strictly on the vibrational signatures of the molecules present in the sampling volume. As a consequence, when applied to biological species, the techniques provide highly complex spectra that describe changes occurring for the entire genome, proteome and metabolome. By use of robust mathematical techniques to mine and visualise the spectroscopic data, detection of cellular abnormalities or identification of unwanted exogenous species can be made, offering new label-free methods that require little or no sample preparation, and are also attractive for real time in-vivo applications.
The issue presents reviews and original papers from renowned and internationally recognised research groups in the field, providing insight into their most recent contributions, and also a commentary of possible future directions.