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3-in-1 optical skin cancer probe
Date:8/5/2014

y 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 co
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Contact: Jason Socrates Bardi
jbardi@aip.org
240-535-4954
American Institute of Physics
Source:Eurekalert  

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