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Can Novel Imaging Technique Diagnose and Treat Skin Cancer Without Cutting Skin?

By: Hillary Ojeda
Posted: Friday, June 21, 2019

A newly developed microscope may provide a way to diagnose and treat diseases including skin abnormalities, without cutting skin, according to research by Haishan Zeng, PhD, of the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, and international colleagues. Unlike previous technology, it is reportedly capable of both digitally scanning living tissue and treating tissue by intensifying the heat produced by the laser. The study findings were published in Science Advances.

“In this work, we propose and demonstrate a novel approach for precisely targeted single blood vessel closure using multiphoton absorption-based spatially selective photothermolysis,” the scientists concluded. “With this novel optical approach, it is possible to selectively close some vessels while leaving others intact to preserve normal tissue physiology once the disease is healed.”

“For diagnosing and scanning diseases like skin cancer, this could be revolutionary,” predicted coauthor Harvey Lui, MD, FRCPC, Head of the Department and Skin Science at the University of British Columbia, in an institutional press release.

The researchers created a multiphoton excitation microscope that could produce images of mouse ear tissue up to nearly 1 mm in depth. Using the microscope, the scientists can evaluate living tissue, diagnose skin abnormalities, and treat them. The ultrafast infrared laser beam is used both to create the images and treat the abnormality by adjusting it to different levels of intensity (from 785 nm continuous wave up to 830 nm).

According to the investigators, the images of multiphoton photothermolysis made it possible to target treatment to a single blood vessel without impacting neighboring blood vessels. The scientists suggest further studies are needed to assess the blood vessels’ biochemical and physical changes.

Disclosure: The study authors’ full disclosure information may be found at

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