We present the development and implementation of a new near infrared transillumination imaging modality for tissue imaging. Exogenous inhaled hyperoxic and hypercarbic gases are used as “vasoactive contrast agents” via the production of changes in concentration of the endogenous HbO(2) and Hb in blood. This vasoactive differential imaging method is employed to acquire data and for subsequent image analysis. Spectroscopic changes obtained from transillumination measurements on the palms of healthy volunteers demonstrate the functionality of the imaging platform. This modality is being developed to monitor suspect breast lesions in a clinical setting based on the hypothesis that the atypical tumor vascular environment will yield sufficient contrast for differential optical imaging between diseased and healthy tissue.