SBIR Phase I: Dynamic Infrared-imaging of Skin Cancer (DISC)
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
SK Infrared LLC
801 University Blvd. Suite100, Albuquerque, NM, 87106-4343
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research Phase I Project proposes to develop a novel non-invasive diagnostic imaging tool for the early detection of skin cancer. In this project, a controlled temperature stimulus is applied to the suspected lesion and the thermal recovery process is captured with an Advanced Longwave Infrared-imaging and Analysis System (ALIAS) capable of measuring temperature differences<0.02°C. The underlying hypothesis of this approach is that the dynamic temperature response of malignant cells will be different from that of the surrounding normal skin cells due to heat generation caused by abnormal processes such as cell proliferation and thermal diffusion, increased metabolism andexcess blood flow. The Phase I effort will involve a pilot study to develop a quantifiable metric to capture the differences in the temperature curves and investigate whether malignant lesions such as Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC), Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC) and Malignant Melanoma (MM) can be distinguished from benign lesions using this metric. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project would be a dramatic reduction in savings to the US health care industry. For millions of people who observe a suspicious lesion on their skin, the only options available today in the dermatology clinic are either a subjective visual test or an invasive biopsy. Since doctors perform biopsies on any clinically atypical lesions to minimize risk, the ratio of benign lesions biopsied to confirmed melanomas is 80 to 1. There is a need for a real-time, non-invasive, pain-free technology that can bridge this gap. The proposed approach is based on a fundamental quantity associated with cancer growth, namely heat generation. Currently, we spend $10.8B/year on skin cancer biopsies in the US along with a project increase of 14% increase annually. If this approach is successful and the number of biopsies can be decreased by a factor of two, it would represent a $5.4B savings to the US health care industry. The NSF SBIR funding will provide a critical bridge funding that will enable the reduction of technological risk to solicit commercial venture capitalist funding.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.