Alumni News

Smart new device to detect skin cancer

New technology will soon be available for any doctor to quickly and painlessly check if a patient has skin cancer.

Dr Miko Yamada, Research Fellow from the Future Industries Institute, pictured with Professor Tarl Prow

Dr Miko Yamada, with Professor Tarl Prow

In Australia more than 1,000,000 patients see their doctor for skin cancer consultations each year. Around 750,000 of these patients have a non-melanoma cancer that requires treatment.

This game-changing device created by Professor Tarl Prow and his team at the University of South Australia (UniSA) allows doctors to take a tiny pinprick sample from the skin that captures roughly 200 cells.

It will allow many patients to avoid the need for painful biopsies that are currently undertaken to test if a skin blemish is cancerous – avoiding the need for short anaesthetic surgeries and stitches that often leave scars of 2-3cms in length.

“Our device will make it easier to identify which skin cancers require immediate removal for further testing and which ones can be monitored over time if they pose no major threat,” says Dr Miko Yamada, Research Fellow in Professor Prow’s team at UniSA.

“We are now fine-tuning our skin cancer biomarkers so the device can take samples and deliver the results instantly. It has the potential to save considerable time, pain and money.”

The device is now in final clinical trials and will soon be available worldwide.

“I want every GP to have one of these new skin cancer devices. They can click it on the skin and after a quick analysis, tell the patient if they have a skin cancer or not,” says Dr Yamada.

UniSA is committed to tackling cancer – one of the most challenging diseases affecting Australians today. As part of this commitment, the UniSA Cancer Research Institute was opened on May 10 – bringing together the largest cohort of cancer researchers ever assembled in South Australia to work collaboratively to fight cancer.

To join UniSA’s fight against cancer and support researchers including Prof Prow and Dr Yamada, click on the 'Donate now' button below.

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