Header Image: Schematic in-vivo skin cancer imaging, with a synthetic bandwidth of 98 GHz using the designed ultra-wideband millimeter-wave imaging system.
Chances of early skin cancer treatment and intervention are enabled through tissue biopsy; prescribed by doctors when they suspect abnormal cell growth. The process itself requires doctors to harvest a sample of suspect tissue from individuals for external laboratory testing, leaving the patients with pain and wounds that take a long time to heal along with a period of uncertainty around cancer diagnosis whilst the sample is analysed.
However, a group of researchers from the Stevens Institute of Technology recently developed a technology to investigate abnormal tissues in-vivo and in real time by scanning a patient’s skin using millimetre-wave imaging technology, which is the same technology used in airport security scanners.
By examining 72 patients they were able to correctly differentiate benign and malignant lesions according to the way that the skin was reflecting light back. According to the research team, this happens due to the changes in the chemical composition of the cells. By utilizing an algorithm they are able to gather information and produce a 3D image in seconds even for the tiniest mole or imperfections indicative of cancer.
The device had a sensitivity and specificity of 97-98% and is comparable to even the greatest hospital-grade diagnostic instruments. Even though there are other devices available, those are not available in every clinic because of their size and cost. The technology that the team is developing is poised to integrate all the antennas and their circuits in a single chip making the device very small and low in cost.
Mirbeik, Amir, Robin Ashinoff, Tannya Jong, Allison Aued, and Negar Tavassolian. “Real-time high-resolution millimeter-wave imaging for in-vivo skin cancer diagnosis.” Scientific Reports 12, no. 1 (2022): 1-10.
This article was written by Edona Hyla as part of an ongoing series of scientific communications written and curated by BioTrib’s Early Stage Researchers.
Edona’s research is focussing on Understanding the Nature, Origin and Degradation of Implant Debris at the University of Leeds, UK