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Hyperspectral imaging expected to speed up lesion diagnosis

Japanese researchers have developed a hyperspectral imaging system that differentiates between melanomas and other pigmented skin lesions.

Called diffuse reflectance hyperspectral imaging, it determines the levels and position of melanin and haemoglobin at the molecular level. This allows the difference between melanomas and other pigmented skin lesions based on this molecular pigmentary level to be identified. The early detection and complete excision of the lesions is crucial for reducing melanoma-related deaths, but existing diagnostic practices are highly subjective possibly leading to unnecessary surgery.

'Since our first priority was to establish whether or not hyperspectral imaging data could be used for melanoma screening, we needed a camera of the highest possible sensitivity. The only camera that met our requirements was the Andor iXon EMCCD camera,' said Takashi Nagaoka of the Shizuoka Cancer Center Research Institute, Japan.

Using the Andor Luca camera, the researchers are working on a system for general practitioners and non-specialist operators to enable them to identify lesions requiring further investigation or excision. By making this type of diagnosis much more accessible and routine in a wide variety of clinical environments, early detection of malignant skin lesions and subsequent early treatment of these lesions should greatly increase diagnosed patients survival rate.

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