This issue is free to access until the end of 2014.
The primary requirement for successful treatment of any disease is early detection. Rapid detection of disease has many benefits, including early intervention of therapy, reduction in mortality and morbidity, and freeing much needed economic resources within healthcare systems.
Biofluids (e.g. urine and serum) provide an easily accessible, relatively non-invasive sample for analysis whose collection can be performed worldwide and in the field. In addition, organ and system linked biofluids (e.g. bile and cerebrospinal fluid), may provide the optimum sample to assess specific conditions. Most current biofluid tests look for single specific biomarkers, some of which have become misleading. A multitude of diseases, in particular cancer, are increasingly being discovered to be heterogenous diseases. In this instance a set of markers or a whole sample profile will provide significantly more diagnostic information than a single marker.
Biophotonic technologies, in particular vibrational spectroscopic techniques, are excellent methods for analysis of a wide range of materials, being non-destructive, simple to operate, cost-effective and requiring only simple sample preparation. The resulting spectrum provides a response from the whole sample and if required, through advances in multiplexed Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering (SERS), multiple markers can be selectively targeted.
Biophotonic technologies, as the research presented in this special issue evidence, offer the ability to revolutionise the clinical arena, providing a responsive diagnostic environment with associated declines in mortality and morbidity.
This special issue of the Journal of Biophotonics brings together leading researchers in the area to report the current state-of-the-art in Photonic Biofluid Diagnostics.