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ROC researchers develop new test for skin diseases

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Scientists at three universities in Taiwan have developed a new non-invasive diagnostic tool which combines the functions of virtual biopsy and molecular imaging and can significantly improve clinical diagnosis of skin diseases, researchers said Thursday.

Experiments conducted on laboratory animals using the new tool have been successfully completed and the results show that the tool can effectively detect indications of oral cancer on hamsters, team members said.

They added that they are looking forward to conducting human testing.

The team — led by Shieh Dar-bin of National Cheng-Kung University, Sun Chi-kuang of National Taiwan University, and Lin Kuan-jiuh of National Chung-Hsing University — has already presented its findings in several scientific papers in the journals Optics Express and Advanced Materials.

Shieh, who is also an oral surgeon, said that in his past experience, it is very difficult to determine whether a patient has developed oral cancer because it is neither easy to spot the cancer nidus nor to carry out biopsy inside the mouth. But with the help of the tool — dubbed “backward-propagating, multi-harmonic optical tomography,” Shieh said, the surgeons can more easily determine the location of the cancer nidus without any invasive measures.

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