Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Detecting skin cancer quickly

04.05.2015

Melanoma is aggressive and life-threatening. If it is not detected early, the prospects of recovery drop. Screening is complicated, though. Together with several project partners, Fraunhofer researchers have developed an assistance system that helps dermatologists with diagnosis.

According to the German Cancer Society, around 200,000 people contract skin cancer every year. Melanoma is particularly dangerous. Once it has penetrated deeper layers of skin, the prospects of recovery drop to less than ten percent.


The Dermascanner scans the surface of a patient’s skin from different positions.

© Dirk Mahler/Fraunhofer IFF

Routine screening is the only way to detect critical skin changes at an early stage. A doctor uses a dermatoscope – a magnifier that peers into deeper layers of skin – to examine abnormal moles, called melanocytic nevus by experts, for features such as size, texture and edges and to observe whether they change over time. Since most people have many moles, the procedure is time consuming.

What is more, keeping an eye on changes such as the growth of individual moles is difficult since a doctor often cannot identify them with absolute certainty during the next exam.

Full body scanner helps diagnose skin conditions

At the initiative of and together with the University Clinic for Dermatology and Venerology in Magdeburg as well as the partners Dornheim Medical Images GmbH and Hasomed GmbH, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF have developed a full body dermatological scanner intended to help doctors diagnose skin conditions in the future.

“The scanner delivers standard data for the evaluation of skin. At the same time, it improves documentation of the development every single conspicuous mole,” says Dr. Christian Teutsch from the Fraunhofer IFF. When the exam starts, the surface of the patient’s skin is scanned from different positions and broken down into approximately one hundred individual scans. Such image documentation already exists.

“The crucial point, however, is that the actual size and changes in growth cannot be clearly discerned solely on the bases of scans,” explains Teutsch.

That is why the Dermascanner generates additional scanned 3D data, which are fused with the 2D scans, thus assigning a scale to every single pixel in the image. The experts are integrating several 3D sensors in the scanner so that this functions. The sensors and cameras are calibrated so that their location in space is known precisely.

The beams of light from the camera striking the mole can be assigned a precise 3D distance. Even when different scans have not been taken from the exact same distance – which is hardly likely – the doctor can apply the scale to determine the actual proportions precisely. The scanned data and scans are fed into analysis software and analyzed and presorted by automatic classification. The software compares any existing earlier scans of development with current images.

“Our technology detects growth upwards of half a millimeter,” says Teutsch. Another advantage is that the scanned 3D data enables a doctor to clearly locate every single mole again.

“A single patient frequently has several hundred moles,” says Prof. Harald Gollnick, Director of the University Clinic for Dermatology and Venerology. When such a high risk patient visits the doctor again after a while, common methods of examination cannot discern whether the location and size moles on skin covered with pigmentation spots are still identical. According to Gollnick, “The new full body, early skin cancer detection system makes a nearly standard evaluation of skin condition and changes possible for the first time.”

“The diagnosis itself is and remains the doctor’s purview,” stresses Teutsch. Doctors have both the scan results and the scans with an additional 3D depth map, which records the distance of the individual pixels in the scan, at their disposal to make a diagnosis. Since minimal changes of an abnormal mole can already be significant, the scanned and image data have to be comparable at any time and also among different equipment.

That is why another important aspect of development was the standardization of the Dermascanner – another of the Fraunhofer IFF’s specializations. “We calibrate every relevant element such as light sources and convert the scans into a standard color space,” explains Teutsch. This assures that effects such as fading luminosity over time do not affect the results.

The Dermascanner is just about ready to be marketed. The first pilot systems have been built. What is more, the project team was recently awarded the 2014 Hugo Junkers Award for Research and Innovation in Saxony-Anhalt for its development by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Economic Affairs (www.hugo-junkers-preis.de). Now, investors have to be found in order to mass produce the skin scanner.

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/press/research-news/2015/may/detecting-skin-cancer-q...

Britta Widmann | Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Visualizing gene expression with MRI
23.12.2016 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Illuminating cancer: Researchers invent a pH threshold sensor to improve cancer surgery
21.12.2016 | UT Southwestern Medical Center

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists spin artificial silk from whey protein

X-ray study throws light on key process for production

A Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk. With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's...

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Breaking the optical bandwidth record of stable pulsed lasers

24.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Choreographing the microRNA-target dance

24.01.2017 | Life Sciences

Spanish scientists create a 3-D bioprinter to print human skin

24.01.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>