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Automatic Detection of VAscular Networks for Cancer Evaluation (ADVANCE)
Start date: Dec 1, 2013, End date: Nov 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

ADVANCE - Automatic Detection of VAscular Networks for Cancer Evaluation - will implement, optimise and validate the use of Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) scanners in the setting of dermatology clinics, to improve the diagnosis and treatment of malignant melanoma.OCT is already an established clinical tool for the diagnosis and management of the less lethal non-melanoma skin cancer, but so far is not in used for melanoma. Recently a key advance in OCT development has been made, enabling the extraction and visualization of vascular networks. Cancers grow blood vessels, and the pattern of growth is diagnostic, and the amount of growth has major implications for the treatment regime and prognosis. ADVANCE will focus on developing the clinical methodology to utilise this valuable information to improve the clinical outcomes for melanoma patients and ultimately to reduce both the mortality rate from this terrible disease and to improve the cost-effectiveness of the treatment: The potential benefits are thousands of lives and Millions of € per year.ADVANCE will validate this innovative technique against other modalities for measuring and imaging vasculature, and will also correlate the results with the existing gold standards for melanoma assessment (histology, sentinel lymph node biopsy etc.), with the objective of refining both the clinical methods and the equipment to the point where, at the endpoint of the project, a clinical trial could be started.ADVANCE brings together the leading manufacturer of OCT scanners for dermatology (SME Michelson Diganostics Ltd), and four clinical partners with extensive expertise in melanoma and skin imaging, and including both hospital clinics (University Hospitals of Augsburg, Copenhagen and Modena) and a CRO/private practice in Berlin. All have previous OCT imaging experience. This 'dream team' of leading European organisations will bring the vision of saving lives from the terrible disease of melanoma a major step closer.

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