A new, noninvasive skin scanner that detects melanoma in under a minute is set to hit the market next year.
The handheld device, called MelaFind, employs near-infrared light to detect melanoma below the surface of the skin. The device has been in development for over 15 years and is currently being tested in dermatology clinics across Europe.
The scanner measures 10 millimeters deep into the skin, much further than current tools used by dermatologists. The device can also see through melanin, which can make it difficult to determine whether a mole is cancerous or benign.
After a scan is completed, the device shows one of three results: “watch” (the mole should be re-examined in several months), “biopsy” (the mole should be removed and examined for cancer), or “no biopsy” (the mole does not require removal).
The main thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize. And by this, I mean our propensity to cover our bodies with clothing and jewelry.
But while these trappings may make us more aesthetically appealing, they also hide a number of health problems that would otherwise be visible to everyone around us. For instance, it’s hard to tell if someone has skin cancer unless you get up close and personal with their body — something most people are loathe to do.
Fortunately, there is a new handheld scanner that can quickly and non-invasively check for melanoma in just 30 seconds; a process that currently takes doctors about 10 minutes to perform. Developed by SkinScan BV, the scanner uses fluorescence spectroscopy to look for any abnormalities in the skin’s pigment patterns.
The technology was originally developed for NASA to identify various types of plant life on other planets. But when Dutch physicist Domenico Schillaci began experimenting with the device, he found that it could also be used as a diagnostic tool on humans as well. In this case, it works by illuminating the skin with ultraviolet light and then measuring the fluorescence it produces using two different cameras. One camera records UV images while the other records images in the
A DERMATOLOGY STUDENT at Stanford has developed a light scanner that can detect skin cancer within 10 seconds.
The device, called the MelaFind, is a handheld scanner that uses near-infrared light to detect melanomas, which are often hard to spot.
Melanoma is the most common form of skin cancer and also the most deadly. It kills more than 50,000 people worldwide every year and over 8,000 in the United States alone.
“We know that if we can diagnose melanoma earlier, we can save lives,” said dermatologist Dr. David Leffell of Yale University.
While the number of melanoma cases have been steadily rising over the past few decades — affecting one in 50 Americans — deaths from the disease have largely remained unchanged, according to Leffell. This is because it’s usually caught early on and treated before it spreads beyond the skin.
But according to clinical trials conducted by Mela Sciences Inc., which makes MelaFind, when dermatologists used the scanner in addition to their own tools and expertise, they were able to find more melanomas than if they had just relied on their eyes and experience alone. The MelaFind was even able to detect some cancers dermatologists had missed entirely.
While medical professionals are still working to develop a cure for melanoma, early detection is key to stopping the cancer in its tracks and saving the lives of patients. A new device created by researchers at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology can detect the deadly skin cancer in under a minute.
The handheld device, which was developed at Technion’s Laboratory for Nanoscience and Nanomedicine, uses near-infrared spectroscopy to analyze the chemical composition of skin – looking for signs of melanoma. The device uses a probe that is gently pressed against the skin and scans it for abnormal cells.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), melanoma is on the rise in people from all walks of life. Melanoma accounts for over 70% of all skin cancer deaths and one person dies every hour from melanoma. Roughly 20% of Americans will develop melanoma in their lifetime.
In addition to the risk factors associated with melanoma, many cases are missed at an early stage because it’s not always easy to spot. While some moles may be different shades of brown or black, others may appear pink or flesh-toned as well as red or blue/purple. Some even have combinations of these colors
An entrepreneurial startup in Australia is looking to take the guesswork out of diagnosing melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. Their device, called the Skin Scanner, is a handheld camera that could be used by primary care physicians to determine whether or not a patient needs further testing — possibly saving lives in the process.
The scanner works by shining light on a suspicious-looking mole and measuring how the skin absorbs it. It can also detect changes in blood flow and detect any tumors beneath the mole. The device was developed by Melbourne-based company Vaxxas, which recently received $6 million from investors to continue its research and development.
Vaxxas CEO David Hoey says that the Skin Scanner takes only one minute to complete an analysis and will cost about $1 per scan. He hopes that primary care physicians will use it as part of a routine checkup for patients with suspected melanomas.
ARTEMIS, a new handheld scanner developed by the Optics in Dermatology Laboratory at Stanford, could revolutionize the way physicians detect melanoma. The scanner uses light and sound waves to examine suspicious moles and lesions without breaking the skin. Developed with photonics technology, it is able to detect melanoma in less than a minute.
Despite being the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma is highly treatable when detected early. However, misdiagnosis of melanoma, due to its similarity to other types of skin cancer or benign moles or lesions, is common. If a patient is diagnosed after their melanoma has spread, it becomes much harder to treat, and even fatal in some cases.
The ARTEMIS scanner was designed as a single-use device that can be used by physicians during routine appointments or screenings to quickly determine if a lesion should be biopsied. It works by emitting pulses of light into the lesion and measuring how it scatters through the tissue. The device then analyzes this scattering data using an algorithm that was trained with over 12,000 images of past patient scans in order to identify whether or not the lesion has any signs of melanoma.
By using light instead of breaking the
For many years, the only reliable way to test for melanoma was a biopsy, an expensive and painful procedure that involved removing part or all of a suspicious mole and sending it off to a lab for analysis.
The FDA has just approved the first-ever hand-held device that can accurately detect melanoma in less than 60 seconds. The new DermScope device uses polarized light to allow doctors to see beneath the surface of the skin, allowing them to determine if there is any risk of cancer before removing any tissue. A sample image from the new device is shown below:
Last week, the FDA approved the VivaScope 3000, a handheld device that takes detailed images of pigmented tissues at different depths within the skin. It’s designed to help physicians make better decisions about whether or not a particular mole needs to be biopsied. According to lead researcher Dr. John Epstein, “It’s one thing when you have a normal looking mole and you don’t know what’s going on underneath. Now we can look underneath without having to remove anything.”