In this work, the infrared (IR) spectra of living neural cells in suspension, native brain tissue, and native brain tumor tissue were investigated. Methods were developed to overcome the strong IR signal of liquid water so that the signal from the cellular biochemicals could be seen. Measurements could be performed during surgeries, within minutes after resection. Comparison between normal tissue, different cell lineages in suspension, and tumors allowed preliminary assignments of IR bands to be made. The most dramatic difference between tissues and cells was found to be in weaker IR absorbances usually assigned to the triple helix of collagens. Triple helix domains are common in larger structural proteins, and are typically found in the extracellular matrix (ECM) of tissues. An algorithm to correct offsets and calculate the band heights and positions of these bands was developed, so the variance between identical measurements could be assessed. The initial results indicate the triple helix signal is surprisingly consistent between different individuals, and is altered in tumor tissues. Taken together, these preliminary investigations indicate this triple helix signal may be a reliable biomarker for a tumor-like microenvironment. Thus, this signal has potential to aid in the intra-operational delineation of brain tumor borders.