Positively identifying skin cancer generally involves taking tissue samples, followed by lab-based testing using slow, bulky and expensive laser-based imaging tools.
A new technique developed by researchers at the Stevens Institute of Technology could achieve more accurate results in instants with a device similar to a mobile phone.
Using millimeter-wave radiation, the team were able to detect cancerous tissue, determine the specific type of cancer, and map tumours as accurately as lab-based testing. This last capability could help guide surgeons to fully remove cancerous tissue, reducing the need for multiple trial-and-error biopsies by up to 50%.
It’s estimated that handheld devices incorporating the technology will cost as little as $1000, and will be able to deliver diagnostic information without needing a trained operator.
“We could place these devices in pharmacies, so people can get checked out and go to a doctor for a follow-up if necessary,” said Negar Tavassolian, director of the Stevens Bio-Electromagnetics Laboratory.
“People won’t need to wait weeks to get results, and that will save lives.”
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