Oral cancer detected by handheld probe

Researchers led by Dr. John Zhang from the University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX, USA) have created a portable, miniature microscope that may help reduce the time taken to diagnose oral cancer.

Oral cancer detected by handheld probe
Oral cancer detected by handheld probe

Researchers led by Dr. John Zhang from the University of Texas at Austin (Austin, TX, USA) have created a portable, miniature microscope that may help reduce the time taken to diagnose oral cancer.

The probe, which is around 20 cm long and 1 cm wide at its tip, could be used by doctors to diagnose oral cancer in real-time or as a surgical guidance tool. Dentists could also use it to screen for early-stage cancer cells.

The probe uses a laser to illuminate areas of the sample and can create 3-D images beneath the surface of tissue. It can also take a series of images and layer them on top of each other, much like the tiling of a mosaic, giving a large overall field-of-view.

The researchers and their commercialization partner NanoLite Systems (Austin, TX, USA) are now planning clinical trials with a view to gaining approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They envisage that, with a few adjustments, the device could be built for a quarter of the price it costs to build the microscopes that are currently used in diagnosis.

A paper entitled 'Portable oral cancer detection using a miniature confocal imaging probe with a large field of view' which describes the design of the probe is available here.

-- by Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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