News | Oncology Diagnostics | May 25, 2016

New Photonics Device to Transform Diagnosis of Skin Cancer

Optoacoustic technology combines light and ultrasound waves to get high-quality, non-invasive image without biopsies

May 25, 2016 — Scientists are developing a new photonics device that listens to light and could be capable of detecting skin cancer and other diseases more accurately than ever before, eliminating the need for unnecessary and invasive biopsies.

With around 232,000 people around the world estimated to have been diagnosed with malignant melanoma in 2012, and with 55,500 deaths, early diagnosis of the disease could see hundreds of thousands of lives saved over the next ten years, improve quality of life and reduce healthcare costs.    

Traditionally, skin diseases are diagnosed visually by a physician using the naked eye or a magnifying glass and personal experience to make a decision. Invasive, uncomfortable and potentially damaging procedures such as biopsies are often performed to confirm or exclude the presence of disease. This new breakthrough, dubbed INNODERM (Innovative Dermatology Healthcare based on Label-Free Spectral Optoacuostic Mesoscopy) would give physicians an accurate and reliable way to objectively identify serious skin diseases for the first time.

“We are essentially listening to light, allowing us to see not just structures but molecules and biology on and under the skin, at depths and contrast never visualized before. It will enable physicians to make accurate and objective diagnosis of skin conditions for the first time,” said Prof. Vasilis Ntziachristos, INNODERM coordinator and chair for biological imaging at the Technical University of Munich.

The method uses opto-acoustics, sending light waves of different wavelengths into the skin and detecting ultrasound waves generated within tissue in response to light absorption to build up an image of the skin tissue and specific molecules therein.

The prototype can visualize at depths up to 5mm under the skin, measures 4cm x 4cm x 7cm — no bigger than a small apple — and can be placed on the skin to generate a high-resolution image in less than a minute. Being portable and of small form factor means that it could be used on expeditions or in remote areas of the world where a young doctor with little experience can make accurate, objective diagnoses.  

“The device allows us to see blood vessels, skin oxygenation and potentially several novel pathophysiological features which are an integral area in the development of diseases. No one has ever been able to see like this before,” continued Ntziachristos.

INNODERM combines the expertise of world-class engineers, scientists and clinicians in a consortium comprising five partners from four European countries.

The project has been awarded a grant of €3.8 million from Horizon 2020, the European Union (EU) framework program for research and innovation under the Photonics21 Public Private Partnership.

For more information: www.ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020

Related Content

Novel Technique May Significantly Reduce Breast Biopsies
News | Breast Biopsy Systems | January 17, 2019
A novel technique that uses mammography to determine the biological tissue composition of a tumor could help reduce...
Videos | Interventional Radiology | January 11, 2019
Julius Chapiro, M.D., research faculty member and an...
AI Approach Outperformed Human Experts in Identifying Cervical Precancer
News | Digital Pathology | January 10, 2019
January 10, 2019 — A research team led by investigators from the National Institutes of Health and Global Good has de
Artificial intelligence, also called deep learning and machine learning, was the hottest topic at the 2018 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)) meeting.

Artificial intelligence was the hottest topic at the 2018 Radiological Society of North America (RSNA)) meeting, which included a large area with its own presentation therater set asside for AI vendors.

Feature | Artificial Intelligence | January 10, 2019 | Dave Fornell, Editor
Hands down, the hottest topic in radiology the past two years has been the implementation of...
Heart Attack, Stroke Risks Increase Leading Up to Cancer Diagnosis
News | Cardio-oncology | December 21, 2018
Older adults with cancer are more likely to have had a heart attack or stroke in the months prior to their cancer...
Opto-Acoustic Imaging Helps Differentiate Breast Cancer Molecular Subtypes
News | Ultrasound Women's Health | December 20, 2018
Seno Medical Instruments Inc. (Seno Medical) reported results of a study demonstrating that morphologic and functional...
YITU Releases AI-Based Cancer Screening Solutions at RSNA 2018
News | Artificial Intelligence | December 06, 2018
Chinese artificial intelligence (AI) healthcare company YITU healthcare released two brand-new products, Intelligent...
Researchers Awarded 2018 Canon Medical Systems USA/RSNA Research Grants
News | Radiology Imaging | November 13, 2018
The Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) Research & Education (R&E) Foundation recently announced the...
University of Missouri Research Reactor First U.S. I-131 Supplier in 30 Years

MURR is the only supplier of I 131 in the United States and the first U.S. supplier since the 1980s. Image courtesy of University of Missouri

News | Radiopharmaceuticals and Tracers | November 13, 2018
The University of Missouri Research Reactor (MURR) recently shipped its first batch of Iodine-131 (I-131), a...
News | Advanced Visualization | November 13, 2018
Canon Medical Systems USA and Applied Radiology will host a pair of expert-led forums in high-resolution imaging and...