Tai­wanese re­searchers dis­cover early de­tec­tion method for skin can­cer

The China Post - - LOCAL -

A re­search team at pres­ti­gious Na­tional Tai­wan Uni­ver­sity (NTU) has de­vel­oped a non­in­va­sive tech­nol­ogy that can help de­tect melanoma, the most deadly type of skin can­cers, by up to six months ear­lier than usual.

The team hopes its high-speed and high res­o­lu­tion op­ti­cal co­her­ence to­mog­ra­phy scan­ner can re­ceive med­i­cal cer­ti­fi­ca­tion by as early as 2017 so that it can put it into clin­i­cal use as soon as pos­si­ble.

Di­ag­nos­ing can­cer re­lies pri­mar­ily on ob­serv­ing tis­sues and cells, and that is where the scan­ner can be use­ful in a timely way, said Shun Chia-tung, a doc­tor with Na­tional Tai­wan Uni­ver­sity Hos­pi­tal's Depart­ment of Pathol­ogy.

If com­bined with an en­do­scope, the tech­nol­ogy can also help de­tect dis­eases such as colon can­cer at an early stage, Shun said at a press con­fer­ence in Taipei.

The NTU re­search team is headed by Huang Sheng-lung, a pro­fes­sor with the uni­ver­sity's Depart­ment of Elec­tri­cal En­gi­neer­ing, who said the tech­nol­ogy pro­vides quick ac­cess to dy­namic images of body tis­sues and blood cells, help­ing doc­tors make an early di­ag­no­sis with­out a biopsy.

The scan­ner is non-in­va­sive and has a res­o­lu­tion of 0.01 mil­lime­ters and a nearly 90 per­cent de­tec­tion rate, Huang said.

It also takes much less time than a regular biopsy, for which pa­tients usu­ally need to wait up to a day for the test re­sults to be known, Huang said.

The re­search, which has gone on for more than a decade, has been tested in clin­i­cal tri­als at teach­ing hos­pi­tals up and down the coun­try, mainly to help iden­tify skin can­cer.

Ex­clu­sive rights to the tech­nol­ogy have been sold to a startup com­pany for nearly NT$30 mil­lion, and it is hoped that clin­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tions can start soon af­ter the med­i­cal cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process is com­pleted by 2017 at the ear­li­est, Huang said.

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