Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Diagnosing Skin Cancers With Light, Not Scalpels

Date:
June 5, 2007
Source:
Duke University
Summary:
In an early step toward nonsurgical screening for malignant skin cancers, chemists have demonstrated a laser-based system that can capture three-dimensional images of the chemical and structural changes under way beneath the surface of human skin.

Magnified red blood cells in mice were computer-manipulated to show from-the-side view.
Credit: Dan Fu, Tong Ye, Thomas Matthews

In an early step toward nonsurgical screening for malignant skin cancers, Duke University chemists have demonstrated a laser-based system that can capture three-dimensional images of the chemical and structural changes under way beneath the surface of human skin.

Related Articles


"The standard way physicians do a diagnosis now is to cut out a mole and look at a slice of it with a microscope," said Warren Warren, the James B. Duke Professor of chemistry, radiology and biomedical engineering, and director of Duke's new Center for Molecular and Biomedical Imaging. "What we're trying to do is find cancer signals they can get to without having to cut out the mole.

"This is the first approach that can target molecules like hemoglobin and melanin and get microscopic resolution images the equivalent of what a doctor would see if he or she were able to slice down to that particular point," Warren said.

The distributions of hemoglobin, a component of red blood cells, and melanin, a skin pigment, serve as early warning signs for skin cancer growth. But because skin scatters light strongly, simple microscopes cannot be used to locate those molecules except right at the surface. Although laser methods have been developed to probe deeper down for some other molecules that can be made to glow, both melanin and hemoglobin remain dark and inaccessible using those methods.

Warren's group has now developed a technology for coaxing both hemoglobin and melanin inside questionable skin moles to emit light by exciting them with highly controlled laser pulses.

The innovation uses a delicate interplay between two laser beams, each emitting a different color of light. To keep the skin from overheating in the process, the lasers must also be able to pulse on for only femtoseconds -- a thousand trillionths of a second -- at a time.

The glow of the hemoglobin- and melanin-bearing structures can be magnified by a microscope outside the skin and manipulated by computers to create cellular-scale images. The noninvasive technique could enable doctors to see as much as a millimeter below the skin's surface -- more than enough for diagnosis, Warren said.

"What this is leading to is for a doctor to be able to touch a mole with a fiberoptic cable and characterize what is going on inside it," he said.

"Today, if you visit a dermatologist, he or she will probably see many moles on your body. But the difficulty is trying to figure out which of those, if any, are dangerous."

Warren's group demonstrated at a March conference of the American Physical Society how the technique can visualize melanin from inside an excised human melanoma.

In May, at an international conference on laser advances, the team made a similar presentation on visualizing hemoglobin in blood vessels within mouse skin cells.

Warren said his team is now working with James Grichnik, an assistant professor in the Duke Medical Center's dermatology and cell biology departments, to begin testing the technology in the clinic.

"We have proposals pending for developing a compact laser system that could be sitting in a dermatologist's office here at Duke within three years where we could actually have the first human demonstrations," Warren said.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Duke University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Duke University. "Diagnosing Skin Cancers With Light, Not Scalpels." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 June 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070604155808.htm>.
Duke University. (2007, June 5). Diagnosing Skin Cancers With Light, Not Scalpels. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070604155808.htm
Duke University. "Diagnosing Skin Cancers With Light, Not Scalpels." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/06/070604155808.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Daily Serving Of Yogurt Could Reduce Risk Of Type 2 Diabetes

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) Need another reason to eat yogurt every day? Researchers now say it could reduce a person's risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins