Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Skin Cancer Detector

PostedJuly 1, 2012

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Randy Atkins: Biopsies are currently needed to confirm whether a mole is cancerous, but University of British Columbia dermatology professor David McLean and colleagues have engineered a device that’s simply held over a mole to beam in light.

David McLean: When you shine a laser onto a skin lesion, the wavelength of the laser light that comes back to you shifts a tiny bit. And that shift is dependent upon the molecules that are in that lesion. And because melanomas do look a bit different, they should have different things in them.

Randy Atkins: The device analyzes the reflected light and, sure enough, in a study of a thousand skin lesions, it identified all 274 confirmed melanomas. McLean says, while the results are extremely promising, larger studies are needed before its ready for your doctor’s office. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.