N.H. company creates device for earlier skin cancer detection

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — Doctors will tell you when it comes to cancer, early detection is key, that is especially true for skin cancer. Now, they have a new tool to do that.

A New Hampshire company is rolling out a device they say tracks patients' skin in a way no one has ever done it before and they believe that will save lives.

Karleen Seybold is CEO for the company behind the device, DermSpectra.

"It's a full body imaging system that securely stores those images and then allows a viewer, a physician, to view them," said Seybold.

It uses eight high-resolution cameras to capture the condition of a patient's skin. That baseline can compare to yearly scans, allowing doctors and patients to monitor changes.

"Their objective is, over time, to track their scans and then detect skin cancers and melanomas early," said Seybold.

In the past, Seybold says there was no single plan for photographing the skin.

"Physicians would take images, they would store them on a CD. They might store them on their computer. It wasn't standardized at all. They would use different lighting," said Seybold.

She says it was hard to track subtle changes. Most melanomas are caught in stage three or four, but Seybold says this system allows for earlier detection.

Their success lead to a partnership with Walter Reed Medical Center, which she says she wants to use to screen all new recruits beginning in 2018. She says doctors at the VA and doctors using DermSpectra now all share a common goal.

"It all has to do with catching these diseases earlier, treating them earlier, and saving lives," said Seybold.

Seybold says she'd like to see the device used by primary care physicians as part of annual physical exams. In the future, she says there could be cosmetic applications for technology, as well.

For a list of local dermatologists who are using DermSpectra, click here.