Washington: Terahertz radiation, the technology that peeks underneath clothing at airport security screening check points has great potential for looking underneath human skin to diagnose cancer at its earliest and most treatable stages, a researcher has revealed.
Anis Rahman , Ph.D., explained that malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer , starts in pigment-producing cells located in the deepest part of the epidermis. Biochemical changes that are hallmarks of cancer occur in the melanocytes long before mole-like melanomas appear on the skin.
Rahman said that terahertz radiation- form of 'non-ionizing' radiation- is ideal for looking beneath the skin and detecting early signs of melanoma.
T-rays can be focused harmlessly below into the body and capture biochemical signatures of events like the start of cancer.
Rahman, president and chief technology officer of Applied Research and Photonics in Harrisburg, Pa., described research focusing T-rays through donated samples of human skin that suggest the technology could be valuable in diagnosing melanoma.
In addition to developing T-rays for cancer diagnostics, Rahman's team has successfully harnessed them to measure the real-time absorption rates and penetration in the outer layer of skin of topically applied drugs and shampoo.
Other wide-ranging applications include the detection of early stages of tooth decay, trace pesticides on produce, flaws in pharmaceutical tablet coatings, and concealed weapons under clothing, as well as testing the effectiveness of skin cosmetics.
The research was presented at National Meeting and Exposition of the American Chemical Society.