Matthew J. Baker, Hugh Byrne, John M. Chalmers, Peter Gardner, Royston Goodacre, Alex Henderson, Sergei Kazarian, Francis L. Martin, Julian Moger, Nick Stone and Josep Sulé-Suso
Vibrational spectroscopies, based on infrared absorption and/or Raman scattering provide a detailed fingerprint of a material, based on the chemical content. Diagnostic and prognostic tools based on these technologies have the potential to revolutionise our clinical systems leading to improved patient outcome, more efficient public services and significant economic savings. However, despite these strong drivers, there are many fundamental scientific and technological challenges which have limited the implementation of this technology in the clinical arena, although recent years have seen significant progress in addressing these challenges. This review examines (i) the state of the art of clinical applications of infrared absorption and Raman spectroscopy, and (ii) the outstanding challenges, and progress towards translation, highlighting specific examples in the areas of in vivo, ex vivo and in vitro applications. In addition, the requirements of instrumentation suitable for use in the clinic, strategies for pre-processing and statistical analysis in clinical spectroscopy and data sharing protocols, will be discussed. Emerging consensus recommendations are presented, and the future perspectives of the field are assessed, particularly in the context of national and international collaborative research initiatives, such as the UK EPSRC Clinical Infrared and Raman Spectroscopy Network, the EU COST Action Raman4Clinics, and the International Society for Clinical Spectroscopy.