Biophotonics & Analytics: Human Skin

[Text en: Humanhaut]

Human skin is a complex organ. The structure and composition of tissue make it a challenging object of investigation. We at HOT are researching optical methods for analyzing the properties of healthy and diseased skin.

Determination of melanoma thickness via optoacoustics and optical coherence tomography (OCT)

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer. The most dangerous form of skin cancer is malignant melanoma. It is one of the most dangerous forms of all types of cancer as its risk to metastasize is very high at later tumor stages. On the other hand, it can be identified and fully cured fairly easily at early stages. The invasion depth of the malignant cells marks the tumor stage and is an important factor for the patient’s prognosis. It is routinely determined by histopathology after biopsy. Optical determination of the tumor thickness would be highly beneficial as it allows better to evaluate the tumor stage at a first visit in advance to surgical measures and to adjust therapy accordingly.

In this view, research within this project is aimed at the development and validation of a method for presurgical assessment of melanoma thickness. In a first project stage, an approach combining different optical methods was realized. In a second stage, the system is to be further advanced for application and validation in a clinical environment. At the final stage of development, the system shall be capable to preoperatively measure the tumor thickness with an accuracy in the order of 50 µm and provide the attending dermatologist with morphological and spectroscopic information to support diagnosis of melanoma skin cancer.

Research Projects