In clinical trials the device was 2.5 times more accurate than the dermatologist in detected skin cancer in just under 2000 cases. The intention with the device is to also rule out having as many biopsies if in fact the cancer is detected by the “gun” type device. The article states that for every 30-50 biopsies sent in, one comes back positive.
With the use of the device estimates are that the number of biopsies conducted relative to actual cases of melanoma found could lower from the number above to one for every 7 sent in. BD
ONE OF THE MOST CRITICAL decisions a dermatologist can make is whether a mark on a patient's skin might be melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Until now, doctors have been forced to rely largely on their own vision, sometimes aided by a dermascope — a hand-held magnifying glass with a light to illuminate the skin area — to decide whether a spot or wart merits a biopsy. It involves a lot of guesswork — and untold numbers of unnecessary biopsies.
A small Irvington, N.Y.-based medical device maker may have a better approach. Electro-Optical Sciences (ticker: MELA) has developed a computer-assisted device, currently under expedited review by the Food and Drug Administration, that could revolutionize the way doctors screen patients for cancer.
The device, called MelaFind, consists of a hand-held imaging "gun" that emits 10 different wavelengths of light to capture images of suspect pigmented skin lesions. Because MelaFind can see where the clinician cannot — up to 2.5 millimeters below the skin's surface — it is expected to help catch melanomas much earlier, without the need for as many biopsies, which is good news for most patients fearful about body scarring from the procedure.