This work is conducted under the direction of Associate Professor Prow.
Description: This Project is designed to investigate the question: When does a skin lesion need to be excised? We will address this question using state of the art skin sampling with our microbiopsy coupled with sequencing. Our conventional microbiopsy technology consists of a micro-sized biopsy cutting die that is attached to a modified spring-loaded blood lancet applicator. The microbiopsy device is loaded and fired at a high speed into the skin with a targeting accuracy of 0.29 ± 0.32 mm (horizontally) by 1.05 ± 0.56 mm (vertically).
To improve on the targeting accuracy of this device, we have incorporated the use of a dermoscope and a targeting cassette. A hand-held dermoscope can help to align the targeting cassette with a 1 mm diameter hole to enable more accurate sampling of tissue samples from small (≤ 1 mm) region of interest. We have adapted this approach to microscopy guided microbiopsy using clinical reflectance confocal microscopy as the imaging platform.
These tools are still under development, but are now being deployed around the world to sample healthy and diseased skin. Our goal is to help unlock the molecular mechanisms that underpin skin disease. We are approaching this by developing strategic collaborations with leading laboratories around the globe.
Aims of Study: To refine and add functionality to the microbiopsy platform. Simultaneously, we are conducting several clinical pilots and developing translation strategies for the technology. Finally, we aim to develop the technology for paediatric applications.
Status: We are shipping devices to collaborators around the globe that include both industry and academia. We now have the capacity to generate RNA-Seq libraries from microbiopsy skin samples. This positions us to conduct unique clinical research programs on skin disease and topically applied drugs not possible with conventional technologies.