OCT imaging shows promise for skin cancer treatment

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A study undertaken at University College Hospital London has demonstrated the use of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) for in vivo imaging of non-melanoma skin cancer.

The case study was performed by Zaid Hamdoon and a team led by Colin Hopper at the Unit of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, University College Hospital London, and was supported by Killing Cancer, the charity dedicated to helping successfully treat cancer patients with photodynamic therapy.

Michelson Diagnostics' VivoSight scanner provides images of sub-surface tissue similar to ultrasound, but at far higher resolution using OCT. This enables the clinician to see critical details of the skin epidermis and dermis in real time.

The imaging technique could pave the way for photodynamic therapy (PDT) to be used to remove non-melanoma skin cancers rather than conventional surgical excision. PDT is non-invasive and therefore avoids surgery scars.

Professor Colin Hopper, the principal investigator of the case study, commented: 'This case study is part of a larger programme of ground-breaking research at our unit into using OCT imaging for clinical benefit of cancer patients. As well as improving PDT, mapping skin cancer lesions with OCT should improve delivery of other treatments such as Mohs surgery. We are looking to integrate OCT into our routine clinical pathway.'