Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Novel device shows potential in better detecting oral cancer

11.04.2006


Researchers supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, part of the National Institutes of Health, report today their initial success using a customized optical device that allows dentists to visualize in a completely new way whether a patient might have a developing oral cancer.



Called a Visually Enhanced Lesion Scope (VELScope), this simple, hand-held device emits a cone of blue light into the mouth that excites various molecules within our cells, causing them to absorb the light energy and re-emit it as visible fluorescence. Remove the light, and the fluorescence of the tissue is no longer visible.

Because changes in the natural fluorescence of healthy tissue generally reflect light-scattering biochemical or structural changes indicative of developing tumor cells, the VELScope allows dentists to shine a light onto a suspicious sore in the mouth, look through an attached eyepiece, and watch directly for changes in color. Normal oral tissue emits a pale green fluorescence, while potentially early tumor, or dysplastic, cells appear dark green to black.


Testing the device in 44 people, the results of which are published online in the Journal of Biomedical Optics, the scientists found they could distinguish correctly in all but one instance between normal and abnormal tissue. Their diagnoses were confirmed to be correct by biopsy and standard pathology.

"The natural fluorescence of the mouth is invisible to the naked eye," said Dr. Miriam Rosin, a senior author on the paper and a cancer biologist at the British Columbia Cancer Research Center in Vancouver, Canada. "The VELScope literally brings this natural fluorescence to light, helping dentists to answer in a more informed way a common question in daily practices: To biopsy or not to biopsy."

Because developing tumors in the mouth are often easily visible, public health officials have long advocated early detection of oral cancer. But determining whether a suspicious sore is benign or potentially cancerous has remained scientifically problematic. "A major reason is looks alone can be deceiving," said Rosin, referring to the common practice of diagnosing cancer based on the general appearance and staining patterns of tissue biopsy. "What’s been badly needed in screening for oral cancer is a way to visualize the biological information within and let it tell you whether or not a lesion is likely to become cancerous."

Rosin said the VELScope goes a long way toward answering this unmet need. "Historically, the problem in developing a fluorescence-reading instrument has been largely organizational," said Rosin, a leader of the British Columbia Oral Cancer Prevention Program. "No one scientific discipline possesses sufficient expertise to build such a sophisticated imaging device, and the needed interdisciplinary groups weren’t forming to tackle the problem."

This lack of communication changed a few years ago when Rosin broached the subject to Dr. Calum MacAulay, the head of the British Columbia Cancer Research Center’s cancer imaging program and who has extensive training in physics, pathology, and engineering imaging devices. Based on these discussions, MacAulay and post-doctoral fellow Pierre Lane agreed to begin the technologically challenging process of designing a hand-held device that also would be user friendly in the dentist’s office.

Starting with a crude, light-emitting box and a pair of goggles that their group had previously cobbled together to visualize skin cancer, Lane and MacAulay gradually progressed to the one-step device reported today. "We essentially refined and integrated the box-and-goggles concept into one device," said MacAulay, who also works closely with a corporate partner that would like to commercialize the VELScope. "The box was molded into the lightweight, hand-held structure, a flexible cord attaches the examination light, and the goggles became the view finder that allows dentists to directly evaluate lesions in real time."

In their study, the scientists evaluated 50 tissue sites from 44 people. All sites were biopsied, and pathologists classified seven as normal, 11 had severe dysplasia, and 33 biopsies were oral squamous cell carcinoma. Reading the fluorescence patterns of the 50 sites, the group correctly identified all of the normal biopsies, 10 of the severe dysplasias, and all of the cancers. These numbers translated to 100 percent specificity and 98 percent sensitivity. Specificity refers to how well a test correctly identifies people who have a disease, while sensitivity characterizes the ability of a test to correctly identify those who are well.

Rosin said her group is now engaged in a larger follow-up study in Vancouver that will further evaluate the VELScope. "Laboratories are developing similar devices to detect lung and cervical cancer," said Rosin. "That means that the same basic technology is now being used to evaluate three tumor sites, and we can begin hopefully to pool our data and fine tune the characteristics and meaning of the changes in fluorescence."

The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimated last year that about 20,000 Americans were diagnosed with various oral cancers. The ACS also estimated that just over 5,000 Americans died from these cancers in 2005.

Bob Kuska | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nidcr.nih.gov

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism
19.01.2018 | Weill Cornell Medicine

nachricht Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system
17.01.2018 | Duke University Medical Center

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>