T-rays Target Skin Cancer

T-rays Target Skin Cancer

T-rays Target Skin Cancer

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen have been awarded almost £200,000 to develop a device which could detect skin cancer.

The money was one of five grants given to the University from Scottish Enterprise's Proof of Concept Fund, which supports leading-edge technologies in Scotland's academic institutions, and aims to help export innovation from the lab into the global marketplace.

Scientists are trying to exploit Terahertz or THz technology - a new and exciting frontier in science and engineering. The radiation, also known as T-rays, generated from this type of technology is very high frequency. T-rays interact very strongly with human tissue and can be used to detect skin cancer which can be treated successfully if caught early enough.

Currently the systems which produce THz radiation are big, not very portable, extremely expensive and have a very low power yield. Researchers in Aberdeen, who are collaborating with the University of Glasgow, are working on the development of a smaller, more manageable device.

Dr Geoff Dunn, a lecturer within the University of Aberdeen's School of Engineering and Physical Sciences, is leading the project. He said: " We hope to develop an inexpensive semi-conductor device which would produce T-rays. A small and portable scanner would be a major advance in medical technology, with the potential to reduce skin cancer deaths."

Dr Dunn added: "We believe such a scanner could be a vital tool for GPs checking for cancer. But this technology could also be used in a huge range of other commercial sectors which include high resolution RADAR systems to wireless office communications."

Dr Liz Rattray, Company Development Manager with the University of Aberdeen, said: "We are delighted with the awards given to the University by the Proof of Concept Fund. They will greatly help our efforts to take the world class research going on at Aberdeen into the marketplace.

"The T-ray technology is an exciting prospect and while we initially want to focus on the potential health benefits, it has a huge range of commercial applications which could be capitalised upon."

* The Proof of Concept Fund was launched by the Scottish Executive and implemented by Scottish Enterprise in 1999 as a three year £11M fund - but its success led to this being extended to a £33M fund over six years.

It awards grants to assist the pre-commercialisation of leading edge technologies emerging from Scotland's universities, research institutes and NHS Trusts. Its goal is to help researchers take their ideas and inventions out of the lab and develop them commercially into ground-breaking Scottish businesses.

Further information on the projects supported by the Fund can be found at:

www.scottishenterprise.com/proofofconceptfund

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