New patch for easier skin cancer detection

Person being checked for skin cancers.
A new patch could make it easier to detect skin cancers, without the need for biopsies. | Photo: Alex Raths (iStock)

A new patch could make skin cancer testing quicker and less invasive.

Researchers at Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet have developed a patch equipped with microneedles that could identify relevant biomarkers.

Associate Professor Onur Parlak said the microneedles could detect tyrosinase, an enzyme that was an important biomarker for malignant melanoma.

“By measuring the enzyme’s levels directly in the skin, researchers can quickly identify changes linked to the disease,” Professor Parlak said.

“Our method is less invasive and has the potential to provide faster and more reliable results compared to traditional biopsies.”

Professor Parlak said malignant melanoma was the most serious form of skin cancer and the fastest growing cancer.

Australia has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, according to the World Cancer Research Fund, with a rate of almost 37 cases per 100,000 people.

Professor Parlak said the Swedish study showed the new patch could be an alternative to current diagnostic methods, leading to earlier detection and treatment of malignant melanoma.

“(We) hope the work will help reduce the number of procedures and improve patients’ quality of life,” he said.

“Our goal is to continue developing and improving this technique to offer more accurate and painless diagnostics.”

Skin cancer detection patch. | Newsreel
The Karolinska Institutet's new skin cancer detection patch. | Photo: Supplied by Karolinska Institutet .