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Diagnose and treat skin diseases without incising it, new technology from Canada

microscopio

Researchers at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, have developed a very special microscope that has the potential ability to diagnose diseases such as skin cancer and perform extremely precise surgeries, all without incising the epidermis.

Our technology,” explained Yimei Huang, one of the authors of the study, published in Science Advances allows us to rapidly scan tissues, and when we see a suspicious or abnormal cell structure, we can perform ultra-precise surgery and selectively treat the unwanted or diseased structure within the tissue, without cutting the skin.”

The device is a type of multiphoton excitation microscope that allows imaging of living tissue down to about one millimeter depth using an ultrafast infrared laser beam. What distinguishes the microscope from previous technology is that it can not only digitize living tissue, but also treat it by intensifying the heat produced by the laser.

The researchers wanted to make the multiphoton microscope technology more versatile while increasing its accuracy, being able to identify what is happening under the skin from different angles.

When applied to the treatment of skin diseases, the microscope enables doctors to pinpoint the exact location of the abnormality, diagnose it and treat it immediately. It could be used to treat any structure in the body that is reached by light and requires extremely precise treatment, including nerves or blood vessels in the skin, eyes, brain, or other vital structures.

“We are able to change the path of blood vessels without affecting any of the surrounding vessels or tissues,” said Harvey Lui, another author of the study and a professor in the Department of Dermatology and Skin Sciences at the University of British Columbia – For diagnosing and analyzing diseases such as skin cancer, this could be revolutionary.”

Huang Y, Wu Z, Lui H et al. Precise closure of single blood vessels via multiphoton absorption-based photothermolysis. Sci Adv. 2019 May 15;5(5):eaan9388.

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