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Helmholtz Munich | iTERM

Under the Skin: Better Treatment of Psoriasis by Scanning Light and Sound

Transfer, New Research Findings, Bioengineering, IBMI,

A clinical study confirms the success of a novel technology developed by Helmholtz Munich and the Technical University of Munich (TUM) for the evaluation of the treatment of psoriasis. With the new method, doctors can look deeper into the skin of those affected than was possible with previous clinical approaches. This enables them to better assess the severity of the disease and the effectiveness of treatment. The method could be used in clinics worldwide, with certification planned by the end of 2022.

Around 160 million people, or about two percent of the world's population, suffer from psoriasis. The inflammatory skin disease causes reddish scaly and itchy plaques in the skin, with many patients having their quality of life impaired. There is no effective cure for the disease but appropriate treatment selection can mitigate the symptoms of the disease. Therefore, precise evaluation of treatment is essential for the well-being of the patients. However, assessment of treatment is challenging because it is difficult to determine aspects of disease that lie under the skin and are not visible to the dermatologist.

In a study evaluating 19 people suffering from psoriasis, the Munich team showed improved treatment monitoring that identified the effectiveness of drugs with details not possible by visual inspection, which is the current clinical standard. The precision is due to the use of Raster-Scan Optoacoustic Mesoscopy, or RSOM, a technique that has already won numerous awards as it scans a safe light beam onto the patients’ skin and detects disease markers with high precision by listening to the light absorption in tissue and generating high-resolution images under the skin surface. The study confirms the high potential of the technology and raises hopes for accurate monitoring and better treatment options.

Read more: <link - extern>RSOM scanner wins award from the European Commission</link>

Original publication
Hindelang et al., 2022: <link - extern>Enabling Precision Monitoring of Psoriasis Treatment by Optoacoustic Mesoscopy.</link> Science Translational Medicine, DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.abm8059.