Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Spotting suspicious moles

Date:
October 22, 2010
Source:
Optical Society of America
Summary:
Most of the spots on our skin are perfectly harmless moles, collections of cells called melanocytes. But occasionally, these melanocytes turn cancerous, creating the potentially deadly skin tumor melanoma. Scientists have now developed a new technique that aims to help doctors distinguish melanomas from harmless moles using high-resolution snapshots of suspicious spots.

Most of the spots on our skin are perfectly harmless moles, collections of cells called melanocytes. But occasionally, these melanocytes turn cancerous, creating the potentially deadly skin tumor melanoma.

At Frontiers in Optics 2010, scientists at Duke University in Durham, N.C., will present a new technique that aims to help doctors distinguish melanomas from harmless moles using high-resolution snapshots of suspicious spots.

To visually inspect the surface of the skin, doctors can use a hand-held lens and a bright light or microscopes and a technique called dermoscopy. But recent studies have found that diagnoses based on these images are often incorrect, because only the surface is visible, and the dangerous changes take place too deep to be seen. "There's quite a bit of variability in the diagnoses provided this way," said Thomas Matthews, a researcher at Duke. The best way to diagnose melanoma is still a biopsy -- the removal and analysis of a chunk of tissue from a growth -- but even then, experienced doctors often disagree on the diagnosis. This disagreement leads to false positives (which force unnecessary procedures and drive up healthcare costs) or false negatives (which can have fatal consequences).

Matthews and his colleagues at Duke's Center for Molecular and Biomolecular Imaging are adapting a laboratory imaging technique to provide new information about suspicious moles, both in vivo and in biopsy specimens. Skin contains two kinds of pigments, or melanins: pheomelanin, which is reddish or yellow, and eumelanin, which is dark and brownish. Some studies have suggested that a change in the ratio of these two pigments could signal that a harmless mole has turned malignant. Matthews' two-photon microscopy technique pumps a small amount of energy into the pigments (using much less power than a laser pointer), then watches the energy redistribute to give high-resolution images of their distributions in a spot of skin.

"No one has been able to look at where different melanins are organized in skin," said Matthews. "This opens up a whole new pathway of looking for melanoma." The most immediate application would be to reduce false positives and false negatives in interpreting biopsies; with further research, the scientists hope to better define how this information can be used to avoid biopsies altogether.

The presentation, "Nonlinear High-Resolution Imaging of Eumelanin and Pheomelanin Distributions in Normal Skin Tissue and Melanoma," takes place on Oct. 26 at the Frontiers in Optics (FiO) 2010/Laser Science XXVI -- the 94th annual meeting of the Optical Society (OSA), which is being held together with the annual meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) Division of Laser Science at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center in Rochester, N.Y., from Oct. 24-28.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Optical Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Optical Society of America. "Spotting suspicious moles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101020194811.htm>.
Optical Society of America. (2010, October 22). Spotting suspicious moles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101020194811.htm
Optical Society of America. "Spotting suspicious moles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101020194811.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law

AP (July 22, 2014) Two federal appeals courts issued conflicting rulings Tuesday on the legality of the federally-run healthcare exchange that operates in 36 states. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Why Do People Believe We Only Use 10 Percent Of Our Brains?

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The new sci-fi thriller "Lucy" is making people question whether we really use all our brainpower. But, as scientists have insisted for years, we do. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Scientists Find New Way To Make Human Platelets

Newsy (July 22, 2014) Boston scientists have discovered a new way to create fully functioning human platelets using a bioreactor and human stem cells. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

Gilead's $1000-a-Pill Drug Could Cure Hep C in HIV-Positive People

TheStreet (July 21, 2014) New research shows Gilead Science's drug Sovaldi helps in curing hepatitis C in those who suffer from HIV. In a medical study, the combination of Gilead's Hep C drug with anti-viral drug Ribavirin cured 76% of HIV-positive patients suffering from the most common hepatitis C strain. Hepatitis C and related complications have been a top cause of death in HIV-positive patients. Typical medication used to treat the disease, including interferon proteins, tended to react badly with HIV drugs. However, Sovaldi's %1,000-a-pill price tag could limit the number of patients able to access the treatment. TheStreet's Keris Lahiff reports from New York. Video provided by TheStreet
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:
from the past week

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