The skin is an organ that may succumb to external threats and its environment, leading to a number of skin disorders. Of these, skin cancer is of particular concern, as it is the most common type of cancer in Caucasians. Specific and sensitive diagnosis of skin cancer remains a major Australian public health issue, being 83% of all new cancers. Melanoma is the most deadly with an occurrence of 3% but causing 83% of skin cancer deaths. This research project addressed the issues of specificity and sensitivity in diagnosis and control in surgical excision and disease management.
What we aim to achieve
The goal of this project was to improve the specificity and sensitivity in diagnosing skin diseases using in vivo staining and non-invasive imaging of the skin. We examined the feasibility of using targeted strategies to enable visualization and treatment of skin disorders, especially skin cancer. This was driven by the need to provide more sensitive and specific diagnosis for various skin conditions and, in the case of skin cancers, assisting in defining margins for surgical excision and in improving treatments. To meet this aim we have explored the suitability of using different compounds to enable improved imaging that can possibly enable tumour margins to be more accurately identified prior to treatment.
Our next steps and milestones
Our next steps are to further develop our melanoma staining and imaging techniques to enable improved diagnosis and treatment of this condition.
What motivates me
My ambition is to now take the field to a new level, using frontier imaging and formulation technologies to directly examine processes in the skin non-invasively with high resolution. I want to improve the diagnosis of skin disorders such as melanoma, and enhance evidence-based practice in the pharmacotherapy of skin cancers.
My message to supporters
The funding from Cancer Council SA has enabled us to conduct initial studies that provided an essential backbone of information to support subsequent research.