OSPI device detects skin tumours

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Researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel are developing a device that detects cancerous skin tumours, including melanomas that cannot be seen by the naked eye.

During initial testing, the Optical Spectro-Polarimetric Imaging (OSPI) instrument is said to have revealed new textures of lesions that have never been seen before, including melanoma in patients who were diagnosed with various skin lesions and were awaiting surgery for their removal. The instrument diagnosed 73 types of lesions, some of them cancerous.

Dermatologists and plastic surgeons typically diagnose skin tumours by their appearance by sight and rarely use a dermatoscope, a magnifying tool that allows tumours to be examined in detail.

The OSPI biosensor uses infrared wavelengths and LC devices to measure tumour characteristics, including contours and spread.

‘This is an exciting preliminary development since the initial testing shows that we can now identify microscopic tumours in the biological layers of the skin,’ said Prof Abdulahim, head of the BGU Electro-Optical Unit in the Faculty of Engineering Sciences and leader of the research group. ‘As we continue to develop the OSPI, we also see an opportunity to use this technology for detecting other types of cancerous growths.’