Monitoring of Tryptophan as a Biomarker for Cancerous Cells in Terahertz (THz) Sensing

ALTAN H., Ozek N. S., Gok S., Ozyurt I., Severcan F.

Conference on Optical Biopsy XIV - Toward Real-Time Spectroscopic Imaging and Diagnosis, San-Francisco, Costa Rica, 15 - 17 February 2016, vol.9703 identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Conference Paper / Full Text
  • Volume: 9703
  • Doi Number: 10.1117/12.2218032
  • City: San-Francisco
  • Country: Costa Rica
  • Keywords: Terahertz Spectroscopy, reflection mode, L-tryptophan, human breast cancer cells, human colon adenocarcinoma cells, TIME-DOMAIN SPECTROSCOPY, CHROMATOGRAPHY, CATABOLISM
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: Yes


Tryptophan is an extremely important amino acid for a variety of biological functions in living organisms. Changes in the concentration of this amino acid can point to identification of cancerous tissues or even confirm symptoms of depression in patients. Therefore it is extremely important to identify and quantify tryptophan concentrations in human blood as well as in in-vivo diagnostic studies. Here a reflection based terahertz pulsed spectroscopy system was used to study the interaction of THz pulses with cancerous cells to gauge the possibility of using L-tryptophan as a biomarker for THz sensing of diseases. Initial measurements were performed on human colon adenocarcinoma cells and human breast cancer cells cultivated on glass slides. The glass slides utilized in the growth process limited the measurements not only to reflection based geometries but also limited the analysis of the samples in the frequency domain due to the highly absorbing nature of glass in the THz region. The useful bandwidth was limited to frequencies below 0.6THz which prohibited us from investigating the effects of L-tryptophan in these samples. Even with the limited frequency range the measurements show that there are slight differences in the transmission of the THz pulse through different samples.