Current methods to diagnose prostate cancer (lat. Carcinoma) involve a combination of histologic examinations, prostate antigen testing, and digital rectal examinations. Histological examinations require invasive tissue biopsies, while prostate antigen testing and rectal examination are limited by detection and localization accuracy. As a result, these diagnostic methods to identify prostate cancer lack sensitivity, specificity, and convenience. There are currently, no available methods for accurately and non-invasively distinguishing malignant tumors from benign tissue in the prostate. Therefore, scientists including Andreas Helmut Hielscher, Hyun Keol Kim, Jong Hwan Michael Lee, and Emerson Lim at the Columbia University developed a technology that implements endo-rectal diffuse optical tomography (DOT) imaging to assess tumor localization, vascularity, and architecture for a more accurate detection and diagnosis of prostate cancer.

This non-invasive and cost-effective technology combines an endo-rectal probe with diffuse optical tomography technology to non-invasively identify malignancies in the prostate. Through the implementation of both a trans-rectal ultrasound and diffuse optical tomography techniques, this technology can acquire multiple measurements from a wide variety of angles, allowing for accurate imaging reconstruction of the prostate tissue.

Furthermore, the implementation of chromophore concentrations and a precise image reconstruction algorithm produces three-dimensional vascular biomarker maps, which depict tissue vascularity and aid in both diagnosing and staging malignant tissue.

The method can be applied not only as a diagnostic assay for prostate cancer but also as a diagnostic tool for gynaecology, otolaryngology, and gastroenterology exams. It also provides three-dimensional image reconstruction of various internal tissues/organs. In addition, the technology is easily-operated.