Airport screeners hold potential for cancer detection

September 24, 2013

Technology in devices being used for airport security could lead to the development of more advanced skin cancer screening, recent research suggests.

 

Technology in devices being used for airport security could lead to the development of more advanced skin cancer screening, recent research suggests.

The terahertz radiation (T-rays) used in airport security checkpoints can be used to detect the early signs of melanoma, according to research presented at 246th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Indianapolis.

T-rays can penetrate only a few millimeters through skin, cloth and other non-metallic materials. Research teams are harnessing T-rays to test their effectiveness for cancer diagnostics.

“T-rays are a form of non-ionizing radiation, like ordinary visible light, but they can be focused harmlessly below into the body and capture biochemical signatures of events like the start of cancer,” Anis Rahman, Ph.D., president and chief technology officer, Applied Research & Photonics, Harrisburg, Pa., said of the technology.

Biochemical changes from cancer occur in the melanocytes before melanomas appear on the skin, investigators noted.

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