AUGUST 7, 2009--Michelson Diagnostics (Orpington, UK) says that in-vivo trials of its VivoSight multi-beam optical coherence tomography (OCT) probe have begun. The trial, a collaboration between Michelson Diagnostics and Ludwig Maximilians University (Munich, Germany) is designed to assess the probe's ability to differentiate premalignant and early malignant lesions, and also to demarcate non-melanoma skin cancers before planned surgical excision. At least 100 patients will be scanned.
Michelson Diagnostics' Medical Applications Director, Dr Gordon McKenzie, explained that OCT, a noninvasive technique, "could play an important role in the pre-operative diagnostics of early carcinomas in the skin," because of its imaging depth and resolution. He said, "The early recognition and therapy of skin tumors, especially of the early and precursor lesions, can increase the survival of patients significantly." Because the common imaging systems such as ultrasound, CT and MRT don't have sufficient sensitivity for early forms of skin cancer , the early recognition of tumors of the skin relies solely on medical inspection, on epiluminescence microscopy and on subsequent biopsy.
"The current procedures are expensive and time consuming," McKenzie said. "Additionally, single biopsies may not lead to the correct diagnosis, because lesions commonly occur in multiple locations, and they can also occur over large regions before they become invasive at selected areas. Therefore the crucial areas of invasive tumor growth may not be identified by single biopsies."
"With the help of 3D mapping and structured surveillance using OCT, information may be obtained in a non-invasive manner over the extension, the structure, and the possible dignity (benign or malignant) of such lesions without needing to take an invasive biopsy. If, for example, the distinction between dysplasia and early invasive carcinoma was possible, then subsequent treatment, such as the kind of resection, PDT or other forms of local therapy, can be better planned. OCT would offer a non-invasive examination tool of the tissue, would provide quasi-histological information about the tissue, the so called 'optical biopsy', and would give new innovative possibilities in the field of diagnostics."
McKenzie said that he is pleased with the initial reaction of the clinicians to the VivoSight images: "The high resolution provided--better than 10 microns in all axes--fast imaging speed and 3D capability all combine to reveal a huge amount of information that we hope can change clinical care for the better," he said, "and the ergonomics of the probe and ease of use of the software have gone down well too."
The VivoSight OCT probe is on sale in Europe for clinical use, but is currently only available for non-clinical applications within the USA.