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3D Avatar for Skin Cancer Research

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The Princess Alexandra Hospital is now home to Australia’s first 3D Avatar – a revolutionary skin cancer-detecting system. The system, called the VECTRA Whole Body 360, is the first of its kind in Australia and is revolutionising the fight against skin cancer.

Every year in Australia skin cancers account for around 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers. Living in Queensland, we are used to living our lives in the sun, however with this outdoor lifestyle comes risks of developing serious conditions like skin cancer, so skin checks are a vital part of yearly check-ups for all Queenslanders. Between 95 and 99% of skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun and two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70.

This revolutionary new way of detecting and monitoring skin cancer will lead to better outcomes for our patients. It will be the new screening tool of the future. The recently obtained commercial version, replacing the prototype obtained in 2015, funded by the Princess Alexandra Hospital Private Practice Trust Fund and located in the Translational Research Institute Clinical Research Facility, was the first of its kind outside of the USA and is the only one in the public health system in Australia incorporating clinical research.

The VECTRA Whole Body 360 revolutionises the way clinicians map, monitor and diagnose skin conditions and skin cancers. To make a 3D avatar, a patient stands within an imaging pod incorporating cameras, each of which takes an image at the same time. A computer program then stitches the images together to produce a 3D model that replicates the skin surface in complete detail. The main function of this complete body photography system is tracking changes in skin lesions, which are a tell-tale sign of a developing melanoma. The system quickly makes a record of the patient's whole skin surface that can be referred to during follow-up visits to identify changing moles. It can also be used to measure body dimensions and track these over time as well.

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Last updated 18 November 2019