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Noninvasive Optical System Reveals Oral Cancer Signs

KERALA, India, Jan. 29, 2014 — A new spectral imaging system holds promise for rapid, noninvasive screenings for oral cancers. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation in Newport Beach, Calif., the death rate associated with this type of cancer has historically been high because it is routinely discovered late in its development.

The Diffuse Reflectance Imaging System (DRIS), developed by a team from the Centre for Earth Science Studies, identifies the margins of a lesion that cannot be easily visualized by the naked eye during invasive surgical interventions, said Dr. Narayanan Subhash, who led the research team.

The rapid, easy-to-use system exhibits accuracy comparable to the gold standard histopathology of a biopsy sample. DRIS works with a Luca-R electron multiplying CCD (EMCCD) camera to capture monochrome images of a patient’s mouth at 545 and 575 nm.


The Diffuse Reflectance Imaging System, developed by researchers in India, captures monochrome images to generate a pseudo-color map. Blue denotes healthy tissue, red shows premalignant tissue, and yellow designates malignant tissue. Courtesy Centre for Earth Science Studies.


A software then uses the images to generate a pseudo-color map to identify premalignant and malignant tissue and lesions, enabling early detection and treatment.

“[DRIS] also delineates the boundaries of neoplastic changes and locates sites with the most malignant potential for biopsy, thereby avoiding unnecessary repeated biopsies and delay in diagnosis,” Subhash said.

The researchers believe that the system has the potential to be a valuable tool in detecting and treating other types of cancer as well. Its multispectral DR imaging technique could someday be used as an adjunct to colposcopy in the screening of cervical precancers and in the identification of the most malignant site for biopsy.

For more information, visit: cess.res.in



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