Screening Technique May Help Detect Early Signs of Cancer

2 February 2010 (Last Updated February 2nd, 2010 18:30)

A new screening technique to identify early signs of cancer has been developed by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the UK. The optical coherence tomography (OCT) technique produces a higher resolution in a quicker time than techniques such as MRI or ultrasound. The t

A new screening technique to identify early signs of cancer has been developed by the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in the UK.

The optical coherence tomography (OCT) technique produces a higher resolution in a quicker time than techniques such as MRI or ultrasound.

The technique, with no ionising radiation, detects changes in tissue structure, which can indicate the early stages of cancer.

In addition, a new NPL product, called a 'point-spread phantom', eliminates the traditional risk of inaccuracies leading to incorrect assumptions about cell disruptions.

The phantoms used in the machine are translucent cylinders of resin containing specially arranged particles designed to reflect light in a very specific way.

By viewing the phantom with an OCT machine and analysing the image with NPL software, it is possible to produce accurate images that help users take important medical decisions, researchers said.