Many poets compare moles on the back your loved ones with the firmament. It’s a beautiful metaphor no doubt, but neither of them may have thought that both concepts could be related. So much so that the software used in astronomy for star tracing became an ideal ally to discover skin cancer.

Near MoleGazerprogram created as a result of the collaboration of scientists from University of Southampton and Oxford University Hospital. It uses typical astronomy tools to detect changes in the evolution of moles in patients at risk of developing skin cancer, considering them to be stars.

As the authors of the study explained in a statement, photos of skin covered with moles they are tracked in the same way as images of the sky. Thus, the evolutionary patterns of these spots are obtained, which can give a clue to their inevitable malignancy. This is not the first time astronomy tools have been used to diagnose cancer. But each new software is even more amazing than the last.

What does astronomy have to do with oncology?

The answer to this question seems to be simple: nothing. But in some way there are points of convergence between these two disciplines, so that would be the wrong answer.

The first procedures that brought together oncologists, biomedical doctors and astrophysicists were based on light. This is very useful for detecting various astronomical objects. For example, exoplanets can be detected by regular fluctuations in the brightness of their parent star. Very useful information can be obtained by observing the behavior of light as it passes through it. gas and dust clouds so common in space. And all this is very useful in the study of cancer.

For example, it was noticed that breast tumors in the early stages, they are usually accompanied by the presence of small deposits of calcium in the mammary glands. They are initially different for detection. However, you can use typical astronomical instruments that analyze the changes in the wavelength of a light beam as it passes through an object. This object can be a chest or found in the sky.

In addition, treatment consisting of administration of an anticancer drug which is activated by light accompanied by gold nanoparticles. Thus, the latter enhance the effect even more when heated, including in the presence of light.

This type of treatment, which also uses tools from astronomy, has been used experimentally against skin cancer. And it is this type of cancer that can now be diagnosed using software originally developed for celebrities.

Credit: MoleGazer team.

Moles turned into stars for skin cancer detection

Typically, people with skin cancer risk He has photographs showing all his moles. They are regularly checked by dermatologists who are responsible for looking for suspicious changes.

But this requires a lot of time, in addition to the work of qualified personnel, which is not always quickly available. So while these doctors are still needed, it can be done first survey sponsored by astronomy.

With MoleGazer these photos are tracked in searches suspicious changes, no matter how minimal. When it comes to the stars, even the slightest change can be a sign of something big. For this reason, this software has great sensitivity, which currently gives good results.

Although everything is in the initial phase. However, the authors of the project are already looking to the future. And this is what they explained at the meeting UK National Astronomy Meeting, his next step would be “mapping how benign moles turn into melanoma.” In this way, they can help make “the earliest diagnosis, as early detection is the key to getting the best results.” No doubt the fruit wedding between astronomy and oncology are remarkable. Hopefully there will be more of them soon.

Source: Hiper Textual

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