Cancer researchers use EMCCD camera to screen for throat cancer

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A team of Indian cancer researchers led by Dr Narayanan Subhash has developed a simple, non-invasive spectral imaging system that holds out the possibility of rapid, inexpensive mass screening for oral cancers in dental and clinical settings.

Even in the hands of non-clinical staff, it is capable of real-time discrimination of healthy oral tissue from pre-malignant and malignant tissues with accuracy comparable to the gold standard histopathology of a biopsy sample.

The core of the team's novel Diffuse Reflectance Imaging System (DRIS) is an Andor Luca-R EMCCD camera, which captures monochrome images of the patient's mouth at 545nm and 575nm. Andor's Solis software computes a ratio image (R545/R575) of the area under investigation and generates a Pseudo Colour Map (PCM) where blue designates healthy tissue, red denotes dysplastic or premalignant tissue, and yellow identifies malignant tissue. This allows rapid visual differentiation of oral lesions and identification of regions with pre-malignant characteristics.

‘Since mortality from oral cancer is particularly high, early detection, diagnosis and treatment is vital in increasing the survival rate of those with the disease,’ said Dr Subhash. ‘Our imaging method has the great advantage of non-invasively scanning entire lesions and their surrounding areas and automatically categorising these oral lesions into normal/clinically healthy, pre-malignant, and malignant tissue in real-time.’

The Luca-R EMCCD camera is built around a monochrome, megapixel frame transfer EMCCD sensor to deliver single photon detection sensitivity and excellent quantum efficiency.

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