Non-invasive melanoma detection wins Dyson prize

Posted Nov 9, 2017 by Tim Sandle
This year's coveted ames Dyson Award has gone to sKan, a low cost and non-invasive melanoma detection device, invented at McMaster University, Canada.
sKan - a low cost and non-invasive melanoma detection device  wins the 2017 Dyson Award.
sKan - a low cost and non-invasive melanoma detection device, wins the 2017 Dyson Award.
James Dyson Awards
A group of undergraduates studying medical and bioengineering courses at McMaster University, Canada have won the international James Dyson Award for 2017 for the creation of a medical device called the sKan. The device is aimed at the non-invasive detection of melanoma.
sKan is intended to be low cost and relatively portable, made available to developing countries for the process of detecting skin cancer.
The device works on the premise that cancerous cells have a higher metabolic rate than normal tissue cells. When cancerous skin is cooled rapidly it regains heat at a faster rate than non-cancerous tissue. The sKan device makes use of this temperature differential, and harnesses accurate sensors to detect heat variations.
Speaking about the award James Dyson said: “By using widely available and inexpensive components, the sKan allows for melanoma skin cancer detection to be readily accessible to the many. It’s a very clever device with the potential to save lives around the world. This is why I have selected it at this year’s international winner.”
Detecting the most common form of cancer
By detecting melanoma, the sKan device looks to help diagnose the most common form of cancer (around one in every three skin cancer cases). In the most serious cases the patient survival rate is only five years; however, early detection significantly increases survival rates.
The process of detection generally rests on a visual inspection by a physician qualified in dermatology. This process is time consuming and sometimes cases are missed. The sKan device, as a rapid method, can process patients far more quickly and accurately.