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New hand-held device uses lasers, sound waves for deeper melanoma imaging
Date:8/6/2014

nosis at this point in time requires taking tissue out of the person and processing it and looking at it under the microscope," Cornelius says.

But because taking a biopsy often only involves the removal of a part of a tumorwhen it's in a cosmetically sensitive area, for instanceprovisional measurements of the tumor depth are not always reliable. If, at the time of excision, the surgeon finds that the tumor goes deeper than initially thought, the patient may need yet another surgery.

Recently, researchers including Wang have applied an approach called photoacoustic microscopy, which can accurately measure melanoma tumors directly on a patient's skinthus allowing doctors to avoid uncertainty in some circumstances.

The technique relies on the photoacoustic effect, in which light is converted into vibrations. In the case of the new device, a laser beam shines into the skin at the site of a tumor. Melanin, the skin pigment that's also in tumors, absorbs the light, whose energy is transferred into high-frequency acoustic waves. Unlike light, acoustic waves don't scatter as much when traveling through skin. Tumor cells will produce more melanin than the surrounding healthy skin cells, and as a result, the acoustic waves can be used to map the entire tumor with high resolution. The device has a detector that can then turn the acoustic signal into a three-dimensional image on a screen.

Wang, Cornelius and their colleagues previously built a similar desktop device, which shines the laser directly onto the tumor. But so much light is absorbed that very little penetrates to the tumor's lower layers. The latest version, however, is not only hand-held, but it also delivers light around and below the tumor, which generates a bright image of the tumor's bottom and an accurate measurement of its depth.

The researchers tested their device on both artificial tumors made of black gelatin and on real ones in live mice, showing that the in
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Contact: Lyndsay Meyer
lmeyer@osa.org
202-416-1435
The Optical Society
Source:Eurekalert  

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