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Euronews Reports on a Technology Developed by Latvian Scientists for Early Diagnosis of Skin Cancer

14th of May
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Dmitrijs Bļizņuks, Associate Professor, Institute of Applied Computer Systems, Faculty of Computer Science, Information Technology and Energy, RTU. Photo: Euronews screenshot

Cancer cases are on the rise in Europe, with melanoma - the most dangerous type of skin cancer - the sixth most common. With support from European Union (EU) funds, medical device start-up Bdetect has launched a portable, non-invasive early detection device based on technology developed by scientists, reports Euronews.

The technology uses different coloured light to determine whether a skin lesion is malignant or benign and aims to simplify the detection of skin cancer. The new diagnostic device can be used for rapid screening by GPs in their practices, making the test more accessible and faster.

It is based on technology developed by scientists at the University of Latvia (UL) in partnership with Riga Technical University (RTU). Ilze Ļihačova, a senior researcher at the Institute of Atomic Physics and Spectroscopy at the University of Latvia, tells the portal that the device uses LED light to penetrate the skin to a depth of up to five millimetres. Red, yellow or blue light is reflected differently because the skin contains blood and melanin, different chromophores that give different information. The images captured by the device are analysed using an artificial intelligence algorithm, with results obtained within seconds. The hardware, programming and AI solutions were developed by RTU researchers. Dmitrijs Bļizņuks, Associate Professor at the Institute of Applied Computer Systems, Faculty of Computer Science, Information Technology and Energy, RTU, tells Euronews that he hopes to obtain the necessary medical certification in the next few years so that the new solution can be used by general practitioners in Europe.

For the project «Portable device for early non-contact diagnosis of skin cancer», the scientists received a certificate of recognition from the President of the Latvian Academy of Sciences in the competition «Most significant achievements in science» in 2018.

The aim of the project was to develop and clinically validate a new type of portable device and cloud computing service for early diagnosis of skin melanoma and other cancers (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma), postoperative scar monitoring and early detection of tumour recurrence.

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