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Publication Details

Vibrational Spectroscopy Volume 91, July 2017, Pages 16-30.


Vibrational spectroscopy is currently widely explored as a tool in biomedical applications. An area at the forefront of this field is the use of vibrational spectroscopy for disease diagnosis, ultimately aiming towards spectral pathology. However, while this field shows promising results, moving this technique into the clinic faces the challenges of widespread clinical trials and legislative approval. While spectral pathology has received a lot of attention, there are many other biomedical applications of vibrational spectroscopy, which could potentially be translated to applications with greater ease. A particularly promising application is the use of vibrational spectroscopic techniques to study the interaction of drugs with cells. Many studies have demonstrated the ability to detect biochemical changes in cells in response to drug application, using both infrared and Raman spectroscopy. This has shown potential for use in high throughput screening (HTS) applications, for screening of efficacy and mode of action of potential drug candidates, to speed up the drug discovery process. HTS is still a relatively new and growing area of research and, therefore, there is more potential for new techniques to move into and shape this field. Vibrational spectroscopic techniques come with many benefits over the techniques used currently in HTS, primarily based on fluorescence assays to detect specific binding interactions or phenotypes. They are label free, and an infrared or Raman spectrum provides a wealth of biochemical information, and therefore could reveal not only information about a specific interaction, but about how the overall biochemistry of a cell changes in response to application of a drug candidate. Therefore, drug mode of action could be elucidated. This review will investigate the potential for vibrational spectroscopy, particularly FTIR and Raman spectroscopy, to benefit the field of HTS and improve the drug development process. In addition to FTIR and Raman spectroscopy, surface enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy (CARS) and stimulated Raman spectroscopy (SRS), will be investigated as an alternative tool in the HTS process.