SKIN biopsy technology has taken a leap forward thanks to a new device that requires fewer instruments, which researchers promise will reduce the time taken to diagnose diseases such as skin cancer.
The current procedure for skin biopsies involves a trained clinician cutting the base layer of the skin, extracting it with forceps and sewing up the wound. This operation is executed under local anaesthetic and requires approximately 30 minutes. However, the automated skin biopsy device allows the examining doctor to perform a rapid skin biopsy at the push of a button without the need for anaesthetic or specialised cutting and sewing. The whole operation takes under 5 minutes.
The new device was invented by a team from the Carlos III University of Madrid (UC3M) and the Institute Ramón y Cajal for Health Research (IRYCIS), Madrid, Spain and both institutes have applied for Spanish and international patents for the tool. One of the creators, Dr Jesús Meneses, Department of Mechanical Engineering, UC3M, described the new biopsy device as an ergonomic tool that is “compact and easy to use,” making it possible to obtain a skin sample using just a single instrument. Dr Meneses added that the tool makes the incision and removes the tissue sample automatically and complies with all the sanitation standards established by IRYCIS.
The device is still at the prototype stage but is ready to perform demonstrations. The next step for the developers is to effectively promote their device and find medical equipment manufacturers to develop the product under license.