Michelson Diagnostics presents advantages of OCT laser imaging for cancer diagnostics at RSM innovation summit

2 December 2009

Jon Holmes, CEO of UK medical imaging firm Michelson Diagnostics Ltd (MDL), presented to an audience of around 300 Royal Society of Medicine Fellows and Members how MDL’s revolutionary new laser-based medical imaging technology could radically improve cancer diagnostics.

Jon Holmes was speaking at RSM's first ‘Innovation Summit’ along with an impressive line-up of other world-leading medical innovators, which included Professor Laurent Lantieri, the pioneering face transplant surgeon, and Dr Okarma, CEO of Geron, the US company leading the treatment of spinal cord injury with stem cell therapies.

The new medical imaging technology, known as Multi-Beam Optical Coherence Tomography, uses lasers to scan surface tissue in real time, using a hand-held probe, to produce an image of the internal tissue microstructure at far higher resolution than is possible with ultrasound, CT or MRI scanners. This image could be used by clinicians to identify a cancer, or to decide how far the cancer has spread below the surface, enabling more accurate surgery with reduced rates of recurrence.

In his talk, Mr Holmes explained that a prime application could be skin cancer: a very high proportion of skin biopsies (in which tissue is surgically removed for laboratory analysis) show no sign of cancer —so the painful biopsy could have been avoided. He also explained that skin cancers often recur due to the inability of surgeons to tell exactly how far a tumour has spread below the surface.

VivoSight OCT scanner with hand-held probe being used to investigate sub-surface skin tissue
VivoSight OCT scanner with hand-held probe being used to
 investigate sub-surface skin tissue

Multi-Beam OCT could tackle these problems with a quick, non-invasive scan. A biopsy would only be needed if the scan revealed signs of cancer. Clearly, this has the potential to save the NHS £millions in reducing histopathology costs and treatment of recurring cancers, as well as cutting waiting times for the laboratory results, and saving patients from the pain of biopsies in many cases.

Mr Holmes went on to explain to the RSM audience that his company, Michelson Diagnostics Ltd, has already launched a product, named ‘VivoSight’, and has started multi-centre trials in the UK and
Germany, and he is very encouraged by the initial feedback.

The President of the Royal Society of Medicine, Professor Robin Williamson, said. "The Royal Society of Medicine has long been a place where pioneers in the medical sciences have come to demonstrate new techniques and new technologies in their respective fields. We are both proud and excited to be continuing this tradition with the Innovations Summit and look forward to making it an annual event."

The Innovations Summit was sponsored by the NHS Innovations Centre, which works to bring innovative healthcare to the patient, in partnership with the Department of Health, industry, academia and the NHS.


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