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Imaging device aids early diagnosis of mouth cancer and reduces the need for painful biopsies

Researchers from King’s have developed a new clinical imaging device that will hopefully reduce the number of biopsies required to help diagnose mouth cancer in the future.

Biopsy is currently the best way to assess abnormal tissue in the mouth, but it can be an invasive and painful procedure where tissue is removed and tested, and in itself is often a deterrent for getting checked by an oral health practitioner. Over the last 40 years, despite advances in medicine, the five- year survival figures for mouth cancer of approximately 50% remain resolutely static, with late diagnosis contributing to the problem.

Watch the Sky News feature on the clinical imaging device in the video below:

The non-invasive approach developed at the King’s Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences has already identified the location of invasive cancers as small as 1mm in diameter, allowing minimally invasive surgery to remove the tissues with less scarring. The prototype, called the microvascular scope, is a simple, portable device that could change the way clinicians detect oral cancer by allowing the body’s first response to the tumour – new blood vessel growth – to be imaged undisturbed and as it occurs.

A device that can help survey suspicious lesions and guide biopsies to more accurately confirm the existence of cancer and its exact location would prove invaluable– Dr Richard Cook, King’s Dental Institute

The team are looking to translate this technology into direct clinical care, to improve the detection of malignant disease, speed up the diagnostic process and improve its accuracy when tissues need to be collected. In the patient follow-up stages, continued non-invasive monitoring of suspect tissues should make clinical examination far less threatening, improving long-term care and patient experience.

Watch a Q&A session with Dr Richard Cook, from the King’s Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences explain for Sky News.

Interested in finding out about the King’s Faculty of Dentistry, Oral & Craniofacial Sciences? Find out more on their webpages.