"Inexpensive" device that detects skin cancer wins James Dyson Award 2017

"Inexpensive" device that detects skin cancer wins James Dyson Award 2017

With 37 people diagnosed with melanoma every day in the United Kingdom, and an estimated 2,500 lives lost to the skin cancer in the United Kingdom every year, a cheap, non-invasive diagnosis tool has the scope to make a real difference in how the disease is discovered and dealt with.

Dyson company founder James Dyson said the sKan received the award because it is "a very clever device with the potential to save lives around the world". These non-invasive temperature readings are then presented with a statement of findings about a presence, or lack of presence, of melanoma.

Given the high survival rate with early detection, it may come as a surprise that approximately one person dies every hour from melanoma. However, early detection of the cancer is usually reliant on a visual inspection by a physician, which is often inaccurate, while more advanced methods such as high resolution thermal imaging cameras can cost over £20,000.

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The inventors of a device which could prevent thousands of deaths by easily spotting melanoma skin cancer has been awarded the prestigious global James Dyson award. The sKan poses a viable solution.

The team have been awarded £30,000 to develop the idea. So, when the thermal shock is applied, these cells regain heat more quickly than normal cells, thus indicating there a malignant tissue exists. After a period of cooling, skin affected by cancer cells will more rapidly warm up, due to cancer's high metabolism, than non-cancerous skin cells. sKan uses cheap yet accurate temperature sensors to locate rapidly heating areas of skin, shining a spotlight on potentially cancerous cells.

The team plans to use the funds to build a new prototype that can be used in pre-clinical testing.

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The global James Dyson Award runners up are Atropos and Twistlight.

In doing so the device helps solve the problem of current high-performance 3D printing tools wasting large amounts of material. Product design student, Tina Zimmer, has also been awarded £5,000 for designing a LED light-based device that makes it easier to carry out vein punctures on patients.

However, the Twistlight can be used single handed so the other hand can be used to undo the vein strap, tension the skin and fix the catheter in place when pulling out the steel stylet. Multiple discarded attempts cause patient pain and waste medical materials.

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