Using Michelson Diagnostics’ OCT imaging system, VivoSight, the project, named ‘ADVANCE’ (Automatic Detection of VAscular Networks for Cancer Evaluation), aims to demonstrate that multi-beam OCT imaging can be used to assess the aggressiveness of melanomas quickly and efficiently. Michelson Diagnostics is the lead partner in the ADVANCE project.
Melanoma is the most dangerous skin cancer, killing over 20,000 people per year in Europe alone [Source: GLOBOCAN 2008]. The incidence of melanoma is increasing, especially in young women, which is thought to be due to increasing exposure to the sun and UV light .
VivoSight already enables clinicians to non-invasively view all the layers of the skin in much greater detail than is possible with other technologies, potentially revolutionising how dermatologists make diagnostic and treatment decisions.
VivoSight scanners will be used to collect real-time, high definition images of melanomas, which will be analysed to detect vessels that supply them, and then displayed to the clinicians as 3D maps of the vessels surrounding the tumours. Cancers induce the development of new vessels to support their growth, and detection of these abnormal vessel patterns will enable clinicians to distinguish between tumours that are potentially metastatic, from those that are at an earlier stage.
Michelson Diagnostics is developing the core vessel detection algorithms, and collaborating with two industrial partners in the development of the new technology. EG Technology Ltd of Cambridge, based in the UK, will support further hardware design of the OCT scanner, and Technology Partnership doo, based in Belgrade, Serbia, will support the development of the visualization software.
Michelson Diagnostics is also teaming up with the following clinicians who will clinically evaluate the results:
- Prof. Dr. Julia Welzel, M.D. of General Hospital Augsburg, Dept. of Dermatology, Germany
- Prof. Dr. Gregor Jemec of Roskilde Hospital, Roskilde Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
- Prof. Dr. Giovanni Pellicani of Department of Dermatology, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy
- Dr. Martina Ulrich of CMB Collegium Medicum Berlin, Germany
Jon Holmes, Chief Executive Officer of Michelson Diagnostics, said: “We are delighted to be the lead partner in the ADVANCE project. We believe this will be a significant development in the non-invasive diagnosis and monitoring of diseases and conditions that affect the skin. The capability to provide images of fine blood vessels in skin is likely to have many other clinical applications, such as monitoring treatment of inflammatory diseases and wound healing.”
Dr Martina Ulrich said: “This is the first technology available that can visualize the 3D vascular network in and around the skin tumours within the tissue, in-vivo and in real time”
Dr Pellacani said: “This device should enable us to not only identify the tumour, but also its stage of development and predicts its aggressiveness.”
Professor Dr Julia Welzel said: “The availability of this scan could revolutionise melanoma treatment; by reducing the number of patients with early stage melanomas who unnecessarily undergo expensive invasive procedures performed under general anaesthesia, and also helping to definitively detect metastatic melanomas requiring urgent treatment much more quickly, potentially saving lives. “
Professor Gregor Jemec said: “This is a promising new way of approaching skin cancer diagnosis which opens new avenues for both diagnosis and monitoring treatment.”
 P. Boniol M Fau – Autier, P. Autier P Fau – Boyle, S. Boyle P Fau – Gandini, and S. Gandini, “Cutaneous melanoma attributable to sunbed use: systematic review and meta-analysis,” 20120726 DCOM- 20121011.
The project has received funding from the European Union’s ICT Policy Support Programme as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme. This press release reflects only the author’s views and the European Union is not liable for any use that might be made of information contained therein.