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International James Dyson Award goes to cheap melanoma detector
10 November 2017, 05:07 | Lena Norman
Shivad Bhavsar left and Rotimi Fadiya demonstrate their innovative cancer-detecting device to Sir James DysonDyson
Because cancerous cells have a higher metabolic rate than normal tissue cells, cancerous tissue warms at a faster rate than non-cancerous tissue when the tissue - in this case skin - is cooled. A low-priced hand-held device could potentially save millions of lives across the world by diagnosing melanoma without the need for a biopsy. The sKan uses accurate and affordable temperature sensors to pinpoint areas of tissue that gain heat quicker than the surrounding area of skin.
They say the non-invasive device can diagnose melanoma by monitoring the heat emissions of various cells.
The team said they will use the £30,000 they win from the award to continue developing the device.
As with many cancers, early detection is vital to effective treatment, with 5-year survival rates in the USA dropping from 98% to 62% when the cancer reaches the Lymph nodes, and down to 18% when the cancer reaches distant organs.
Annually, skin cancer accounts for one in every three cancer diagnoses. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer worldwide, accounting for roughly 1 in 3 cancer diagnoses, and it results in tens of thousands of deaths each year. sKan won this year's global James Dyson award, bringing with it new funding and attention that could help save countless lives.
The readings are then processed by an algorithm that uses time, temperature, and spacial readings to create a heat map, and show any spots with heat irregularities that could be a melanoma.
The SKan device uses heat detection to allow doctors to identify melanoma accurately, at a fraction of the current cost.
This is considerably cheaper than existing melanoma detection methods that use high resolution thermal imaging cameras that can cost a five-figure sum, whereas this treatment could cost less than $1,000.
The team plans to use the funds to build a new prototype that can be used in pre-clinical testing. "We are truly humbled and excited to be given this remarkable opportunity".
In doing so the device helps solve the problem of current high-performance 3D printing tools wasting large amounts of material. This year that include the Atropos, a 3D-printing robotic arm created to reduce the amount of waste material, and the Twistlight, a device that uses LED lights to guide needles right into the vein to reduce the amount of misses.
Despite being the most common form of medical procedure in the world, 33pc of attempts fail at the first try. The light can be used to easily insert needles and catheters into a patient's skin.
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