The Skin Cancer-Detecting Device (sKan), a low cost, non-invasive and handheld device has won the 2017 international James Dyson Award.
Invented by a team of four (a Nigerian and 3 Canadians) bioengineering undergraduates from Ontario’s McMaster University; Rotimi Fadiya, Michael Takla, Prateek Mathur and Shivad Bhavsar, the sKan is made from widely available and inexpensive components and can possibly make detection of the disease more accessible.
According to the World Health Organization, one in every three worldwide diagnosed cancer cases is a skin cancer.
James Dyson, founder of the Dyson company said the sKan received the award because it is “a very clever device with the potential to save lives around the world“. Since 2002, the James Dyson Award has been open to university or recent design graduates across the world and celebrates significant, practical and commercially viable designs.
To develop the device, the four graduates were awarded C$50,000 ($40,000; £30,000). The device uses temperature sensors to help in the early detection of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer because cancerous cells have a higher metabolic rate than normal tissue cells. Cancerous tissue usually warms at a faster rate than non-cancerous tissue when the tissue skin is cooled.
The team plans to use the funds to build a new prototype that can be used in pre-clinical testing. Their ultimate goal is to select patients who should be sent for a biopsy because early detection is key for the treatment of melanoma.