Engineering Minute

Engineering Minute – Microscope Diagnoses and Treats Skin Cancer

A group of researchers at the University of British Columbia have developed a specialized microscope that can diagnose and treat skin cancer. Best of all, it can do this and perform very precise surgery without cutting into the patient's skin. The teams research was recently published in the journal Science Advances.


“We wanted to be able to identify what was happening under the skin from many different angles and to have the capability of imaging different body sites. Once we achieved that, we wondered whether we could transform this diagnostic device into a treatment device by simply turning up the power of the laser,” says Haishan Zeng, professor of dermatology, pathology and physics at University of British Columbia and senior author of the study. “We are not only the first to achieve fast video-rate imaging that enables clinical applications, but also the first to develop this technology for therapeutic uses.”



From the University of British Columbia article: "The device is a specialized type of multiphoton excitation microscope that allows imaging of living tissue up to about one millimeter in depth using an ultrafast infrared laser beam. What sets the researchers’ microscope apart from previous technology is that it’s capable of not only digitally scanning living tissue, but also treating the tissue by intensifying the heat produced by the laser.

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


Read more about the microscope that diagnoses and treats skin cancer at the University of British Columbia