DermTech has developed an alternative to biopsies that is a more accurate and less invasive. The test can be done at home by the patient with remote guidance from their doctor.
In the US, 1 in 5 people will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. When skin cancer is detected early, there is a 99% 5-year survival rate. However, once it spreads, the survival rate decreases significantly. Therefore, it’s important to monitor moles and take any changesseriously. Innovations are making it easier to do that at home to increase early detection rates. For example, SkinVision helps people analyse moles using a photo, and skin changes can be tracked with apps such as Miiskin.
DermTech is making at-home testing of melanoma possible with their testing technology advancements. Traditionally, checking for melanoma requires a biopsy which people may avoid due to fear or cost. There can be errors in a small percentage of tests, quoted to be up to 17% in early-stage melanoma. With a DermTech test, melanoma is missed less than 1% of the time.
Patients receive the test kit with guidance from their doctor when a suspicious mole requires further testing. The patient cleans the mole using supplies from the kit and then applies a clear sticker to the surface. They trace the outline of their mole onto the sticker and gently peel it off to be placed on a provided card. The patient repeats this process three more times and then sends the sample to the gene lab. The lab will analyse cells collected from the full surface of the mole.
The lab is looking for changes in the genetic makeup or genome of the skin cells in the area only seen in cancer. If these are present, the doctor can then organise an operation to remove the melanoma. The test can also be performed by a healthcare professional directly in the clinic. The test provides an accurate, accessible, and less-invasive option that can help detect melanomas earlier and improve outcomes for patients by supporting earlier treatment.