Researchers from the European project “Automated Detection of Vascular Networks for Assessing Cancer” (ADVANCE) have developed the world’s first scanner that can detect malignant melanoma-growing blood vessels with an infrared laser beam within 30 seconds.
Using a new device called “VivoSight,” experts can actually see under the skin at a depth of 1 millimeter by creating a 3D color image of the microscopic blood vessels in the process of about 30 seconds. The scanner features a new and advanced version of optical coherence tomography (OCT), a photonics technique more commonly used in retinal scans that uses a harmless infrared laser beam to capture 3D images of microstructures under the skin .
Because melanomas need oxygen to grow and survive, they grow their own blood vessels. As cancers develop and become more malignant, they become increasingly deformed and misshapen, with a different appearance than healthy blood vessels.
Until now, it has not been possible to detect and see these vessels in suspicious lesions in real time, and until now it has been possible for dermatologists to make treatment decisions in an unparalleled time frame. “Every melanoma above a certain thickness has the potential to spread to other parts of the body,” said Jon Holmes of Michelson Diagnostics Ltd, a key partner in the ADVANCE consortium.
“Currently, all patients with this type of melanoma have to wait for a sentinel lymph node biopsy in a hospital under general anesthesia to see if it is spreading. This can take weeks to complete, is very expensive, and It can be debilitating for the patient.” About 80 percent of the time, the biopsy yields a negative result, with no sign of the cancer spreading.”
“There has to be a better way: Our scanner could radically improve the ability of dermatologists to decide whether a melanoma is in a less malignant, early stage that has not spread, or if it has progressed to melanoma and has not Immediate aggressive treatment is required. Further clinical trials are needed to further demonstrate the technology.” The scientists used a type of OCT called “speckle variant” OCT, or dynamic OCT (D-OCT), in their scanners.
Studying the “spots,” or flickers, of light patterns created by moving blood cells, the imaging device takes about four frames per second and edits the images so clinicians can judge certain locations on the image frame by frame.
“Using D-OCT, we can see the movement of blood over solid tissue structures, something we’ve never done before in a clinical setting. It’s like looking out at night and seeing the headlights of a car along a highway Road travel, only at nanometer depths under the skin.” “But it doesn’t appear that cancer is a direct solution! Their ships are like curved, branching country roads, getting narrower and narrower. Our clinical team thinks these ‘shapes’ are understanding The key to cancer. Our scanners show these vessels in detail.”
In addition to its broad application in skin cancer diagnosis, the ability to view vascular networks with the new device brings a number of useful side benefits.
“Scanners can image blood vessels as wounds heal. This could be useful in the treatment of chronic ulcers in the legs and feet when doctors want to know if a wound is healing or if a change in treatment is needed,” Holmes said. “Our technology could also help burn patients, allowing physicians a faster response time than the standard 15 days to determine whether a patient’s skin is healing and whether to proceed with a skin graft.”
“Using our scanners will ultimately not only save thousands of lives globally, but millions of euros a year, but we can provide patients with no cost, no need for potentially long-term surgery. Unnecessary surgery can have debilitating side effects, or wait unnecessary time for treatment.”