BC-designed skin cancer detection technology now in use

Issue: BCMJ, vol. 55, No. 6, July August 2013, Page 295 News

A locally developed, noninvasive skin cancer detection technology is now available in Canada, Europe, and Australia for use by dermatologists and GPs with a special interest in skin cancer. The device, called the Verisante Aura, has been installed in four dermatology clinics across Canada so far—in Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, and Oakville. 

The Verisante Aura was developed by researchers and dermatologists at the BC Cancer Agency and the UBC Faculty of Medicine. The device uses laser technology (Raman spectroscopy) to scan a mole or lesion to detect cancerous cells.

Raman spectroscopy detects skin cancer by creating vibrations in the molecules of the skin. Cancerous cells vibrate differently than noncancerous cells, and these differences in vibration are measured by the laser using 21 biomarkers to identify skin cancer with a 99% accuracy rate. The device can be easily operated by a GP or a trained office staff member, and can scan every mole on a patient’s body in 15 minutes.

This homegrown innovation won the 2011 “Best of What’s New” award from Popular Science, a 2013 Prism Award for Photonics Innovation from SPIE and Photonics Media, and the 2013 Bronze Edison Award for innovation. The device promises to speed the diagnostic process, avoid unnecessary biopsies, and detect skin cancer early in its most treatable stages.

The use of Raman spectroscopy to detect and diagnose skin cancer was reviewed in an article entitled “Real-time Raman spectroscopy for in vivo skin cancer diagnosis,” published in the May 2012 issue of Cancer Re­search. The article can be viewed at http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/72/10/2491.short. 

For more information on the device and how it can be incorporated into physician offices visit the Veri­sante Aura website, www.verisante.com/aura/medical_professional.

. BC-designed skin cancer detection technology now in use . BCMJ, Vol. 55, No. 6, July, August, 2013, Page(s) 295 - News.

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