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Shining a Light on Skin Cancer

BioPhotonics
Mar 2018
AUTUM C. PYLANT, NEWS EDITOR, autum.pylant@photonics.com

A consortium of European scientists has developed what they’re calling the world’s first skin cancer scanner: a device — called VivoSight — that is capable of detecting blood vessels grown by malignant melanoma. According to the Automatic Detection of Vascular Network for Cancer Evaluation (ADVANCE) project team, the scanner uses an infrared beam that allows specialists to see under the skin at depths of 1 mm by creating a 3D color image of the microscopic blood vessels in less than 30 seconds.

VivoSight OCT scanner being used to image a patient’s skin.

VivoSight OCT scanner being used to image a patient’s skin. Courtesy of Michelson Diagnostics Ltd.

The ADVANCE team aims to reduce the time for a treatment decision from a number of weeks to a matter of seconds and remove the need for invasive biopsies.

VivoSight uses a swept-source laser manufactured by Axsun, which gives the optimum specification for image resolution and signal-to-noise performance. The laser is coupled with fiber optic components manufactured by Gooch & Housego, and a stepped fiber optic assembly for multibeam optical design manufactured by Lovalite.

Jon Holmes of Michelson Diagnostics Ltd., who is the ADVANCE team project leader, told Photonics Media that VivoSight is currently the only optical coherence tomography (OCT) device for scanning skin that provides angiographic images.

“Being able to detect and see these vessels in a suspicious lesion in real time has never been possible until now, opening the possibility for dermatologists to make treatment decisions in an unrivaled timeframe,” Holmes said. “Our device is quick, entirely safe and painless, and provides patients with extra confidence that clinical decisions are being made using good-quality data.

The ADVANCE team has employed a variant of OCT to the VivoSight scanner called “Speckle-Variance” OCT, or dynamic OCT (D-OCT), an advancement of the technology that is ideal for capturing movement.

Studying the “speckle” or flicker of light patterns created by moving blood cells, the imaging device takes around four frames per second and compiles the images so that a clinician may tell where something has moved on the image from frame to frame.

Blood vessel network in human skin (6 × 6 mm) imaged with VivoSight OCT using Dynamic OCT.

Blood vessel network in human skin (6 × 6 mm) imaged with VivoSight OCT using Dynamic OCT. Courtesy of Michelson Diagnostics Ltd.

Further clinical trials are needed to conclusively prove the technology, but the ADVANCE scientists already see potential uses.

“We see many future applications in the field of imaging skin, not only diagnosis of skin cancer but also applications in optimizing aesthetic laser treatments by enabling treatments personalized to individuals, and also in the field of diagnosing and managing chronic wounds,” Holmes said.

The ADVANCE team is made up of companies from five European countries: Michelson Diagnostics Ltd. in the U.K.; German companies EG Technology Ltd., CMB Collegium Medicum Berlin GmbH and Augsburg Hospital; Region Sjaelland in Denmark; the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy; and Serbia’s Tehnološko partnerstvo d.o.o. Beograd. Together, these companies hope to shine a light on skin cancer through the ADVANCE project.

Research & TechnologyeducationBiophotonicsfiber opticsmedicalmedicineAutum PylantVivoSightAutomatic Detection of Vascular Network for Cancer EvaluationADVANCEcancer3DMicroscopyAxsunGooch & HousegoLovalitelasersOCTD-OCTcamerasimagingJon Holmesspeckle-varianceskin cancerMichelson Diagnostics Ltd.EG Technology Ltd.CMB Collegium Medicum Berlin GmbHKlinikum Augsburg KommunalunternehmenRegion SjaellandUniversità degli Studi di Modena e Reggio EmiliaTehnološko partnerstvo d.o.o. BeogradPost Scripts

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