29 January 2018 – When a skin cancer is suspected, a biopsy is often necessary to confirm the diagnosis. A biopsy is also often performed in order to accurately establish the depth of certain skin cancers prior to treatment.

North West Sydney Dermatology & Laser Clinic in Rouse Hill aims to make this a thing of the past through its new

‘VivoSight Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) scanner’. This is an imaging device that is able to look beneath the skin's surface in high resolution.

“We are very excited to be the first clinic able to offer the Australian public this technology. It means a painless, on-the-spot diagnosis and it will open doors to non-invasive treatments as well.” said Dr Robert Stephens FACD, the principal dermatologist at North West Sydney Dermatology & Laser Clinic.

This device has more potential than just as a diagnostic tool. We can also use OCT to determine if surgery is needed or not. If surgery is necessary, we can map the invisible parts of a tumour prior to excision.” [DR STEPHENS]

The VivoSight OCT scanner is manufactured by the British company Michelson Diagnostics. It is already being used in the USA and Europe and has received TGA regulatory approval for clinical sales in Australia. Our country has a strong appetite for innovation in skin cancer treatment, given that two in three Australians are diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70, and more than 750,000 people are treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia each year.

Jon Holmes, CEO of Michelson Diagnostics commented “We have established VivoSight as the OCT imaging technology of choice amongst German Dermatologists, where we have systems placed in both large hospitals and private clinics. Using the knowledge we have gained from building our business in Germany, we are pleased to announce the successful launch of the VivoSight OCT scanner in Australia.”

“The other benefit of the VivoSight OCT scanner is that it provides us with a means of verifying complete removal of a skin cancer without having to cut it out and send it off to pathology.” [DR STEPHENS]

Effective methods of removing skin cancer without surgery already exist. Some types of skin cancer can be removed with creams (topical chemotherapy). The problem with these treatments is there has been no test that could validate complete removal.

“Using OCT technology, the game now changes. We can now verify complete removal of a skin cancer following a non-surgical treatment” [DR STEPHENS]

“This means that in certain cases, we can make a diagnosis of skin cancer, remove the skin cancer and then verify it’s complete removal without the patient ever seeing a needle or a scalpel” [DR STEPHENS]

Aside from routine clinical use, the only other VivoSight scanner in Australia has just been purchased by the Melanoma Institute Australia. “We aim to use OCT to help understand the science of skin cancer better and monitor the effectiveness of the treatment”, said Associate Professor Pascale Guitera - FACD PhD, a dermatology surgeon and skin imaging expert at the centre, based in Sydney.

The MIA has used an earlier version of VivoSight for research purposes, which resulted in 3 publications, but now with the medical device approval the new VivoSight is available to benefit patients directly, in a clinical setting.

Dr Stephens already has some “very positive patient feedback in the 2 weeks since the scanner was installed” at the North West Sydney Dermatology & Laser Clinic. He is willing to share his early experience using the device. He can be contacted at that clinic on (02) 9629 7341.

About Michelson Diagnostics’ VivoSight OCT scanner

Michelson Diagnostics’ innovative VivoSight Dx OCT scanner has TGA regulatory approval for clinical sales in Australia. Using novel patented laser optics, it provides high-resolution subsurface images of skin tissue that reveal valuable information useful to the dermatologist. Potential clinical applications of the VivoSight OCT scanner include use as an aid to diagnosis of non-melanoma skin cancer, monitoring non-invasive, non-scarring treatments, and mapping subsurface tumour borders prior to treatment. It is also used to guide cosmetic-enhancement surgery. VivoSight OCT scanners are located at leading European and US hospital dermatology departments.

About Michelson Diagnostics (www.vivosight.com)

Michelson Diagnostics is headquartered in Maidstone, UK, and has subsidiaries in Germany and in the USA. Founded in 2006 by Jon Holmes and colleagues, Michelson Diagnostics designs highly innovative instruments using multi-beam optical coherence tomography technology. It has been supported through funding from a syndicate of Venture Capital, corporate and private investors including Octopus, Catapult Ventures and Angel Investors. A lead investor is the global medical giant Smith & Nephew.