This is historical material, "frozen in time." The web site is no longer updated and links to external web sites and some internal pages will not work.

JABSOM News Release: News Release: UH scientists suggest novel screening tool for non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in children

Posted on Apr 9, 2020 in Latest Department News

Scientists at the University of Hawaii (UH) Mānoa have discovered a novel method of diagnosing non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a group of cancers that starts in cells called lymphocytes, which are part of the body’s immune system.

Currently, there are no widely recommended screening tests at this time for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which is usually diagnosed through invasive surgical or needle biopsies or removal of living tissue for examination. However, this study has the potential to change that paradigm by suggesting the use of Raman spectroscopy technology as an initial step to determine if and when a biopsy would be necessary.

Dr. Bruce Shiramizu, pediatrician, researcher at the UH John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) and senior author of the paper describes their findings as a repurposing of technology that has been used for the Department of Defense in remotely identifying chemicals such as explosives using a laser technique.

“We partnered with an investigator with a physics background to design a way to use a hand-held probe to identify different types of pediatric non-Hodgkin lymphoma tissues,” said Dr. Shiramizu. He adds, “the importance of this work is to be able to use the hand-held probe as a screening or diagnostic tool for real-time assessment of a mass that might be a tumor.”

According to Dr. Melissa Agsalda-Garcia, researcher at JABSOM’s Hawaiʻi Center for Aids, “this work in characterizing malignant cells has future diagnostic implications as a non-invasive initial tissue assessment in children with potential malignancies.” Agsalda-Garcia is  the first-author of the paper.

This project is being supported by the St. Baldrickʻs Foundation, the largest private funder of childhood cancer research grants, through multiple grants totaling $113,000.

The manuscript, “Raman-Enhanced Spectroscopy (RESpect) Probe for Childhood Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma” was published in the March 2020 edition of SciMedicine.


About St. Baldrick’s Foundation

Every 2 minutes a child somewhere in the world is diagnosed with cancer. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest private funder of pediatric cancer research grants, is on a mission to defy childhood cancers by supporting the most promising research to find cures and better treatments for all childhood cancers. When you give to St. Baldrick’s, you don’t just give to one institution–you give to virtually every institution treating kids with cancer across the U.S. and

beyond. As a leader in the pediatric cancer community, St. Baldrick’s works tirelessly to ensure that current and future children diagnosed with cancer will have access to the most cutting-edge treatment from the best leaders in the pediatric oncology field. Join us at and help #DFYchildhoodCancers.



Deborah Manog Dimaya
Interim Communications Director at JABSOM  |  UHMedNow
University of Hawai`i John A. Burns School of Medicine