MELA Sciences participates in skin cancer diagnostic workshop in Germany

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MELA Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:MELA), designer and developer of MelaFind®, an FDA and CE Mark approved non-invasive optical device that assists dermatologists in diagnosing melanoma at its most curable stage, participated in a two-day hands-on skin cancer diagnostics workshop in Augsburg, Germany, where leading dermatologists examined "high-risk" melanoma patients with MelaFind® and also participated in an imaging devices exhibit.

Close to 100 dermatologists attended the workshop hosted and lead by Prof. Dr. med. Julia Welzel and Dr. Steffen Gass at the IHK-Bildungshaus Schwaben in Augsburg, Germany. It was the first workshop of the newly founded German Dermatological Society Physical Diagnostics Working Group (Arbeitsgemeinschaft physikalische Diagnostik der Deutschen Dermatologischen Gesellschaft).

The goal was to identify non-invasive physical diagnostics as a specialist field, to share knowledge and experiences from research and advanced training in physical diagnostics in dermatology, and to promote international scientific collaboration. Dermatologists were guided by experts in the use of innovative, non-invasive diagnostic tools in dermatology on high-risk patients.

Prof. Dr. med. Julia Welzel, chief physician of the Clinic for Dermatology and Allergology at Germany's Augsburg Clinic (Klinikum Augsburg), specializes in skin cancer prevention and in-depth research on the most innovative imaging and diagnostics tools for early detection of skin cancer. She is the leader and designer of this new and very collaborative approach for dermatologists to share and produce new data on skin cancer diseases, as well as to explore new technologies that aid their management of skin cancer.

Prof. Dr. med. Welzel, who recently acquired a MelaFind® unit for research, commented, "Modern non-invasive diagnostic technologies like MelaFind® are quickly becoming the standard-of-care in dermatology as they enrich and complement dermatologists' skin cancer examinations by providing important images and objective data, especially on high-risk patients. Early detection is the key to melanoma survival as this is when the disease is most treatable and patient survival is great. Imaging diagnostics for skin tumors will become the standard in early detection of all skin cancers, especially melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer."

Dr. med. Marcella Kollmann-Hemmerich, a MelaFind® user for over one year who practices in Munich, Germany, guided patient and lesion selection for the MelaFind® exams portion of the workshop, as well as in evaluating the MelaFind® data produced from these exams. "The majority of patients are not aware that skin cancer is highly treatable at an early stage, but smart technologies like MelaFind® are helping them understand this better, while also helping dermatologists in monitoring and managing high-risk patients. A great and safe complement to mole mapping and other imaging devices for skin tumors, the important data and images that MelaFind® provides deep below the skin's surface serve as a modern assist to our traditional methods (ABCDPRUs and dermoscopy). The more information we have, the better the patient outcome."

Dr. med. Rolf Ostendorf, who has also been working with the MelaFind® system for over one year at Zent Derma in Monchengladbach, Germany, presented MelaFind® data during the workshop. "MelaFind® provides doctors with images and data they can incorporate into the complete skin cancer examination. When used correctly, the detection, diagnosis and management of melanoma may be greatly improved by technologies like MelaFind®. Human intelligence cannot be replaced, but emerging modern diagnostic tools that aid doctors are proving to be the future of dermatology."

Melanoma - Deadly but Curable if Caught Early

Melanoma is a skin cancer formed in melanocytes, cells responsible for forming pigments (melanin) responsible for skin color. Melanoma is the deadliest and fastest growing cancer in the U.S., according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Doctors in the United States diagnose about 160,000 new cases of melanoma per year, and the World Health Organization estimates about 48,000 melanoma related deaths occur worldwide each year. Melanoma is almost 100% curable if caught early; however, according to a Harris Interactive Study commissioned by MELA Sciences, Inc., 76% of Americans have never had a skin check by a dermatologist.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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