Periodic Reporting for period 2 - INNODERM (Innovative Dermatology Healthcare based on Label-Free Spectral Optoacoustic Mesoscopy )
Reporting period: 2017-09-01 to 2019-02-28
The goal of INNODERM is to develop a handheld, portable, scalable free RSOM prototype for point-of-care applications in dermatology. Compared to competing optical methods such as confocal microscopy or optical coherence tomography (OCT), RSOM images larger fields of view, images deeper and resolves new contrast.
On the technical side significant progress has been made ❶ in the transducer field in terms of sensitivity, artefact reduction and miniaturization (Objective 1), leading to ❷ the design and production of a handheld encapsulated probe (Objective 2), which is essential for clinical translation as it reduces the assessment times needed to ensure an user- and application friendly experience. ❸ Moreover, extensive effort went to the improvement of the reconstruction algorithm computation speed profiting from parallel computing through Graphic Cards Units. Importantly, now the system allows imaging of several wavelengths in parallel, setting the foundation to image the concentration of important biomolecules such as melanin, oxy and desoxy hemoglobin. We explored wavelengths beyond the visible and near infrared range to determine the optimal settings for visualization of lipids and water. ❹ In line with the INNODERM Objectives 3 and 4, the consortium built an optoacoustic microscope compatible with optoacoustic mesoscopy and tested it based on the general design proposed in the previous reporting period. The next step of INNODERM is now to explore the performance of mesoscopy/microscopy hybrid RSOM prototype in clinical applications ➎Based on Objective 5, we have applied RSOM intensively within various dermatology settings including: allergy testing, ultraviolet treatments, precision selective photothermolysis, inflammation and skin cancer. Most importantly, we are now able to determine the penetration depth of melanoma with single cell resolution. With this new ability, we expect to outperform current gold standard (ultrasound) for preoperative melanoma depth estimation providing clinicians a long-awaited, reliable tool for better melanoma treatment which undoubtedly represents a huge benefit for the patients. In addition, we were able to demonstrate that RSOM can visualize the response to treatment in psoriatic patients at depth, precision and sensitivity not imaginable before. With psoriasis being a highly prevalent chronic disease with immense socioeconomic burden, we expect our work to have a strong positive impact on the healthcare system.
Using the INNODERM prototype, the first portable RSOM device, we are able to provide a fresh view on different major skin diseases based on of the definition and establishment of a novel, objective clinical severity index for psoriasis outperforming the standard methods for severity assessment.
The progress made within the second reporting period aligns well with the overarching goal of INNODERM to (a) reduce costs and (b) increase effectiveness in the field of skin imaging and in the long run, for RSOM to become the state of the art technology both in dermatology clinics and rural areas. The use of anatomical, chemical and metabolic parameters will provide early, reliable and quantifiable indicators of skin health, leading to an objective assessment of skin conditions. This will be of special benefit for patients with skin diseases that are currently hard to manifest or distinguish, e.g. irritation vs. allergic reaction. As such, the socio-economic impact of INNODERM will be substantial since it can provide the first reliable set of parameters that facilitate proper diagnosis and consequently optimal treatment early on, which in turn will benefit the healthcare system as a whole. The current state of the project indicates that the promise of RSOM being “a central tool for dermatology” is certainly plausible and will be soon a reality.