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Saturday, 30 April 2011

Astronomy Technique , a Way to Spot Melanoma

A University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of astronomy has come out with a telescope capable of evaluating skin blots which can turn cancerous. The idea struck Andy Sheinis, who was at high risk for melanoma, about 10 years ago, during a visit to the dermatologist.The technology used in his giant Keck Telescope is a low-cost and speedy way to sample the spectrum of light in every pixel of an image and build a three-dimensional “data cube.”
It is used in astronomy to tease information about the size and composition of celestial objects millions or billions of light years from Earth. The technology, Sheinis noted, can be compressed into a device the size of a camera and is now being integrated into a microscope at UW-Madison’s Laboratory for Optical and Computational Instrumentation (LOCI).
In the context of assessing moles for their potential to become cancerous, the method, in a single snapshot, captures a three dimensional image in anywhere from 90 to several hundred wavelengths of light. It is quick, noninvasive, inexpensive and holds clinical promise not only for identifying worrisome moles but also for accurately mapping their extent, which is critical information when it comes to surgically excising them
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