Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Three-in-one optical skin cancer probe

Date:
August 5, 2014
Source:
American Institute of Physics (AIP)
Summary:
Researchers have now developed a probe that combines into one device three unique ways of using light to measure the properties of skin tissue and detect cancer. The researchers have begun testing their 3-in-1 device in pilot clinical trials.

The left panel of this schematic shows the front view of the 3-in-1 spectroscopy probe. The right panel shows an exploded view of the probe assembly with the optical elements, such as the filters, fibers, and front lens identified.
Credit: E.Marple/EmVision LLC

As thousands of vacationers hit the beach this summer, many of them will expose their unprotected bare limbs to direct UV sunlight, potentially putting them at risk of skin cancer later in life. To fight back, scientists can also turn to light, designing optical devices that may detect cancerous skin lesions early on, leading to better treatment outcomes and ultimately saving lives.

Related Articles


Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin's Cockrell School of Engineering have now developed a probe that combines into one device three unique ways of using light to measure the properties of skin tissue and detect cancer. The researchers have begun testing their 3-in-1 device in pilot clinical trials and are partnering with funding agencies and start-up companies to help bring the device to dermatologists' offices.

The researchers describe the skin cancer probe in a new paper published in the journal Review of Scientific Instruments, from AIP Publishing.

Skin cancers of all types are the most common forms of cancer in North America, and melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, is one of the leading causes of cancer death, killing nearly 10,000 people every year in the United States.

Currently, the only definitive way to diagnose skin cancer is to perform a biopsy, in which doctors remove a suspect skin lesion and then examine the stained tissue under a microscope to look for cancerous cells. Determining which lesions to biopsy is an imprecise art, however, and for every case of skin cancer detected there are roughly 25 negative biopsies performed, translating to a cost of $6 billion to the U.S. health care system, according to estimations performed by the researchers.

James Tunnell, an associate professor in the biomedical engineering department at UT, believes the new probe developed by his team could eventually help reduce the high number and cost of negative biopsies by giving a clear picture of which skin lesions are most likely cancerous. He and his colleagues combined three common spectroscopic techniques -- Raman spectroscopy, diffuse reflectance spectroscopy, and laser-induced fluorescence spectroscopy -- into one probe to create a more complete picture of a skin lesion. By revealing information invisible to the human eye, the probe could offer a better screening tool for cancer and eliminate many negative biopsies.

As normal skin becomes cancerous, cell nuclei enlarge, the top layers of skin can thicken and the skin cells can increase their consumption of oxygen and become disorganized, Tunnell said. The changes alter the way light interacts with the tissue.

To detect all these changes requires multiple spectroscopic techniques. For example, diffuse optical spectroscopy is sensitive to absorption by proteins such as hemoglobin while Raman spectroscopy is sensitive to vibrational modes of chemical bonds, such as those found in connective tissues, lipids, and cell nuclei, Tunnell noted.

Previous research efforts have tried combining spectroscopic techniques to aid in skin cancer detection, but the University of Texas team is the first to combine three techniques in a single probe that would be inexpensive enough to be used widely in clinics and doctors' offices. The probe itself is about the size of a pen and the spectroscopic and computer equipment that supports it fits neatly onto a portable utility cart that can be wheeled between rooms. Each reading takes about 4.5 seconds to perform. The 3-in-1 nature of the probe saves time and money while still giving a comprehensive examination of the skin properties.

"Skin is a natural organ to apply imaging and spectroscopy devices to because of its easy access," Tunnell said. Most devices have been at the research stage for the last 10 years or so, but several are now undergoing clinical development, he noted. "This probe that is able to combine all three spectral modalities is the next critical step to translating spectroscopic technology to the clinic."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Institute of Physics (AIP). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Manu Sharma, Eric Marple, Jason Reichenberg and James W. Tunnell. Design and characterization of a novel multimodal fiber-optic probe and spectroscopy system for skin cancer applications. Review of Scientific Instruments, 2014 DOI: 10.1063/1.4890199

Cite This Page:

American Institute of Physics (AIP). "Three-in-one optical skin cancer probe." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140805131714.htm>.
American Institute of Physics (AIP). (2014, August 5). Three-in-one optical skin cancer probe. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140805131714.htm
American Institute of Physics (AIP). "Three-in-one optical skin cancer probe." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/08/140805131714.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
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