Hyperspectral imaging system screens for skin cancer noninvasively

Researchers from the Shizuoka Cancer Center Research Institute in Japan have developed an automated, noninvasive melanoma screening system that may eliminate the need for a morphological examination and reduce needless surgery. Led by Takashi Nagaoka, the team's Diffuse Reflectance Hyperspectral Imaging technique determines the levels and position of melanin and hemoglobin at the molecular level. The hyperspectral imaging data allows them to differentiate between melanomas and other pigmented skin lesions based on this molecular pigmentary level.

Using an electron-multiplying charge-coupled device (EMCCD) camera (Andor's iXon EMCCD camera) enabled the team to capture cutaneous spectra in the visible to near-infrared range that contain physiological information about melanin and hemoglobin within the melanoma lesion. The team's melanoma discrimination index measures the variegation in spectra.

Comparative RGB (left) and hyperspectral (right) images of a melanoma
Comparative RGB (left) and hyperspectral (right) images of a melanoma. (Image courtesy of Andor Technology)

Making noninvasive skin cancer screening such as Nagaoka's team's work much more accessible and routine in a wide variety of clinical environments should greatly increase diagnosed patients' survival rate, says Antoine Varagnat, product specialist at Andor.

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