An optical coherence tomography (OCT) scanner from Michelson Diagnostics Ltd. aided early stage diagnosis of basal-cell carcinoma (BCC) and reduced the need for biopsies by 36 percent in recent clinical testing. "The data showed that VivoSight OCT improved diagnostic certainty for BCC by a factor of four over clinical examination alone and improved diagnostic accuracy by 50 percent," said Dr. Orit Markowitz, assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York. The VivoSight OCT medical scanner can be used to help diagnose the most common types of skin cancer. Courtesy of Michelson Diagnostics. "We also found that the addition of OCT to other standard assessments can improve the false-positive rate and give a high degree of certainty for ruling in a positive diagnosis for BCC," Markowitz said. "By sending these patients straight to surgery, we saw a 36 percent reduction in overall biopsies." The VivoSight OCT scanner provides continuous images of the epidermis and superficial dermis of the skin to be interpreted by a medical professional during the diagnostic process. Compared to clinical and dermascopic evaluation, the device improved sensitivity and specificity, correctly diagnosing in 87.8 percent of BCC cases, compared to 57.4 percent for clinical evaluation and 69.6 percent for dermoscopy. The use of VivoSight OCT in the diagnosis of BCC also allowed more than one in three patients to avoid a diagnostic biopsy. BCCs are abnormal, uncontrolled growths or lesions that arise in the skin's basal cells, which line the deepest layer of the epidermis. They often look like open sores, red patches, pink growths, shiny bumps or scars, and are usually caused by a combination of cumulative and intense occasional sun exposure. In 2010, an estimated 2.8 million cases of BCC were diagnosed in the U.S., and the figures have continued to climb. Michelson Diagnostics CEO Andy Hill said the company next plans to introduce an OCT device for melanoma diagnosis.