Researchers at the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Leeds Musculoskeletal Biomedical Research Unit (Leeds, England), using an optical coherence tomography (OCT) probe, were able to assess tell-tale patterns in collagen deposits and vascularization within the top layers of the skin of those who suffer from scleroderma (a chronic autoimmune disease that primarily affects the skin). Led by Dr. Giuseppina Abignano, the work also garnered the Abbott Innovations Award at the British Society for Rheumatology's annual conference earlier this month (Glasgow, Scotland).
The OCT probe the researchers used (the VivoSight topical OCT probe from Michelson Diagnostics [Orpington, England]) employs an infrared (IR) laser to yield high-resolution image slices up to 2 mm beneath the skin surface in real time. What's more, the probe has obtained CE marking and FDA clearance for clinical usage in Europe and the U.S.
Right now, scleroderma is assessed using the modified Rodnan Skin Score, which requires clinicians to assess the thickness of skin by touch in 17 sites around the body. But Abignano's results presented at the conference show promise for a quantitative approach to assess scleroderma, which may be used to tailor treatment and noninvasively provide rapid and accurate data for clinical trials.
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