A QUT medical physics researcher has devised a new non-invasive diagnostic technique that can help in quick and painless detection of surface cancers.
The technology, developed by Jye Smith from QUT's School of Physical and Chemical Sciences, is currently employed by gyms to calculate body composition.
Smith has developed this new diagnostic technique using bioimpedance spectroscopy to diagnose cervical and skin cancers.
Bioimpedance measures the electrical characteristics of biological tissue and is used by gyms to calculate amounts of lean tissue, water and fat.
"It has only recently been applied to biological tissue to determine healthy, cancerous or dead cells. It offers the possibility of a simple device that can be run over the surface of the skin or internal organ that can quickly, cheaply and accurately record changes in cellular structure that point to cancerous changes," said Smith.
He also said that the bioimpedance technique transmitted tiny electrical currents into the tissue.
"By running the currents through a surface it can identify the boundaries of a lesion. If a cell's structure has changed, the impedance characteristics change and clinicians can use the changes to diagnose the type of lesion," he said.
He added that the technique detected changes inside the cells, changes in cells' membranes and also changes in the space between cells.
"By putting all this information together, it may be possible to diagnose types of cancer along with their boundaries. The beauty of this technique is that the patient doesn't need an anaesthetic, the data is immediate, and it has the potential to be as accurate as more time-consuming, expensive techniques," he said.
Smith also said that further development of the technique might have implications for GP practices or skin clinics.