Researchers from a University in the U.S. have developed a ‘virtual biopsy’ device that can quickly and non-invasively determine whether a skin tumour is cancerous and needs to be removed surgically.
The first-of-its-kind experimental procedure, called vibrational optical coherence tomography (VOCT), creates a 3D map of the legion’s width and depth under the skin with a tiny laser diode, without using a scalpel.
The ‘Virtual Biopsy’ procedure also makes use of soundwaves to test the lesion’s density and stiffness since cancer cells are stiffer than healthy cells.
To develop the device that can quickly determine a skin lesion’s depth and potential malignancy without using a scalpel, the researchers used sound vibrations and pulses of near-infrared light.
This Virtual Biopsy procedure can be completed in 15 minutes with no discomfort to the patient, who feels no sensation from the light or the nearly inaudible sound. It’s a significant improvement over surgical biopsies, which are expensive and time consuming
It also uses sound waves to test the lesion’s density and stiffness since cancer cells are stiffer than healthy cells. An inch-long speaker applies audible sound waves against the skin to measure vibrations and determine whether the lesion is malignant.