Non-Invasive Optical Technique Detects Cancer by Looking Under the Skin, Medical University of Vienna Study
Published: Sep 25, 2012
The trained eye of a dermatologist can identify many types of skin lesions, but human sight only goes so far. Now an international team of researchers has developed an advanced optics system to noninvasively map out the network of tiny blood vessels beneath the outer layer of patients' skin, potentially revealing telltale signs of disease. Such high resolution 3-D images could one day help doctors better diagnose, monitor, and treat skin cancer and other skin conditions. The research was published September 24 in the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Biomedical Optics Express. Researchers from Medical University Vienna (MUW) in Austria and the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, used a technique called optical coherence tomography (OCT) to "see" beneath the surface of skin. The researchers tested their system on a range of different skin conditions, including a healthy human palm, allergy-induced eczema on the forearm, dermatitis on the forehead, and two cases of basal cell carcinoma -- the most common type of skin cancer -- on the face.