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Detecting tumors faster
Date:6/7/2010

This release is available in German.

Early detection is the key to the successful treatment of cancer. But not every lump turns out to be a malignant tumor. To find out whether cancerous cells are present, doctors usually conduct a biopsy and examine the removed tissue under the microscope. This process is not only very stressful for the patient but also highly time consuming. Research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems IPMS in Dresden are aiming to considerably speed up cancer diagnosis. They have developed a microscope head with a diameter of just eight millimeters which can optically resolve and magnify tissue cells measuring just 10 to 20 micrometers. Fitted in the tip of an endoscope it will be used for in vivo cancer diagnosis, inserted in the body as in a minimally invasive surgical operation. The scientists envision that the MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical system) microscope head will eliminate the need for biopsies. Diagnosis in real time would enable doctors to decide on the necessary course of treatment more quickly.

Microscopic image recorders that can be used on endoscopes have not been available up to now. We have developed the first laser-based sensor for this purpose, says Dr. Michael Scholles, business unit manager at the IPMS. In classic endoscopy using macroscopic imaging, the job can be done by CCD or CMOS image sensors, as used in digital cameras and cellphones. For endomicroscopy, however, MEMS-based image sensors are highly advantageous because they can magnify even the smallest object fields, such as cells, without the need for a large lens. We have combined the sensor with a microscanner mirror to achieve the required resolution of 10 micrometers and can therefore massively magnify the tiniest structures.

But how does the system function? The laser itself is located in the operatin
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Contact: Michael Scholles
michael.scholles@ipms.fraunhofer.de
49-351-882-3201
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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