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MELA Sciences Receives Positive Dermatologist Feedback for Optical Melanoma Diagnostic Device

MELA Sciences, Inc. designer and developer of MelaFind®, an FDA approved non-invasive optical device that assists dermatologists in the diagnosis of melanoma, received positive dermatologist feedback from its second Clinical Advisory Meeting held in conjunction with the 16th Annual Mount Sinai Winter Dermatology Symposium last week.

The symposium weekend kicked off with a Clinical Advisory Meeting featuring ten leading dermatologists, specializing in melanoma and pigmented skin lesions, who participated in a roundtable discussion about MelaFind which was moderated by Dr. Gary Goldenberg. He and Dr. Julie Russak led the meeting with presentations regarding their MelaFind experiences. Dr. Goldenberg has been using MelaFind in clinical practice for over a year and Dr. Russak has incorporated MelaFind evaluations into the patient care workflow at her thriving Manhattan dermatology practice, Russak Dermatology Clinic.

Dr. Goldenberg is Assistant Professor, Dermatology and Pathology, and Medical Director of the Dermatology Faculty Practice at Mount Sinai. Dr. Russak is a Board Certified Dermatologist, a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, a member of the American Society of Dermatologic Surgery, and a Volunteer Faculty in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. In addition to extensive research in Cutaneous Oncology, Dr. Russak edited the July 2012 issue of the Dermatologic Clinic’s update on Melanoma and Pigmented Lesions.

Dr. Goldenberg commented, “MelaFind has proven to be a valuable adjunct for me in the process of making a melanoma diagnosis. Medically, you are doing more for patients in using MelaFind because the added information it provides puts the physician in a more informed position than we were in without the device. Importantly, most patients are relieved when you use MelaFind as part of their exam because it helps us explain our decisions to biopsy a lesion or not.”

He added, “Beyond patient care, I believe MelaFind can also be useful to dermatopathologists. Images and data from the device may prove valuable in guiding their preparation and review of each tissue sample, as well as their ability to look deeper and at more levels in order to render a more accurate diagnosis.”

Dr. Russak explained, “In dermatology, we’ve long had to rely on the naked eye, without the benefit of diagnostic tools. MelaFind changes all of that; it is the first of its kind to help us with diagnosing melanoma. It is particularly suitable for medically oriented practices that see a volume of high-risk patients. MelaFind is a fantastic tool when conducting full body skin exams.”

Dr. Russak added, “When examining patients with many atypical moles, the information provided by MelaFind is a major help with my mole management decisions. It is also very useful in examining young women, a patient population that does not want scars on their body. The objective data that MelaFind provides 2.5 mm beneath the surface of the skin has revolutionized the way I perform patient skin exams.”

MelaFind was recently featured in a The Wall Street Journal article as a new device that holds promise for confirming a diagnosis and avoiding unnecessary tests: "The Biggest Mistakes Doctors Make"

Melanoma – Deadly but Curable if Caught Early

Melanoma is a skin cancer formed in melanocytes, cells responsible for forming pigments (melanin) responsible for skin color. Melanoma is the deadliest and fastest growing cancer in the U.S., according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Doctors in the United States diagnose about 160,000 new cases of melanoma per year, and the World Health Organization estimates about 48,000 melanoma related deaths occur worldwide each year. Melanoma is almost 100% curable if caught early; however, according to a Harris Interactive Study commissioned by MELA Sciences, 76% of Americans have never had a skin check by a dermatologist.


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