VELscope: Oral Cancer Screening System

A newly-discovered technology that would help dentists and patients in the early detection of oral diseases is the most powerful tool available and recommended by oral health care professionals today.

The VELscope was developed and patented to British Columbia Cancer Agency in collaboration with MD Anderson Cancer Center, with funding provided in part by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). This is a state-of-the-art technology that allows looking beneath the surface to detect potentially dangerous growths that may cause oral diseases such as cancer.

The VELscope emits a safe blue light into the oral cavity stimulating the tissue from the surface of the epithelium through to the basement membrane and into the stroma beneath, causing it to fluoresce. Thus, the different fluorescence responses can be viewed to help differentiate between normal and abnormal tissue.

The VELscope was studied with 620 patients within a dental school setting at the University of Washington. The study showed that VELscope can detect viral, fungal and bacterial infections, inflammation, squamous papillomas and salivary gland tumors. Under the VELscope, abnormal tissue typically appears as an irregular, dark area that stands out against the otherwise normal, green fluorescence pattern of surrounding healthy tissue.