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LAB WATCH Oncology Biopsy-free Skin Cancer Diagnosis BY FUI LEE LUK http://www.damaemedical.fr arnaud.dubois@institutoptique.fr In September 2014, an inspired optical imaging specialist teamed up with two entrepreneurial-minded engineering graduates. Their collaboration led to the creation of DAMAE Medical, a CNRS start-up company currently developing a cutting-edge method for detecting skin cancer. Based on optical coherence tomography (OCT), which uses light waves to produce cross- sectional images of skin tissue, the innovation is remarkably fast, effective, and non-invasive when compared with the conventional biopsy-based approach. Today, most skin disorders are diagnosed by removing skin samples for laboratory analysis: a procedure that can leave scarring—unnecessarily so when moles prove benign—and takes time for results to come back. The technology A Vote of Confidence for the LORIA BY FUI LEE LUK 15 SPRING 2015 N° 37 Voting has come a long way since Ancient Greeks pioneered democratic elections. Today, electronic polling makes it possible, at the touch of a button, to cast or count millions of votes at a time. Yet this technology also poses new security hazards. Scientists at the LORIA1 are actively fighting these risks via cryptographic algorithms and protocols to meet what CNRS senior researcher Véronique Cortier calls “a paradoxical dual need for voter privacy and result transparency.” From public or private elections to voting contests, e-voting offers significant advantages over paper ballots, such as automated vote tallying, reduced costs, and wider access for online voters. E-ballots, however, face new threats like computer viruses, hacking, power cuts, and server shutdowns. Remote Internet voting also increases the risk of fraud, where an individual illicitly votes for another. The LORIA’s answer to these threats is called Belenios. Launched in 2014, this secure web-based ballot box system combines the two vital components of effective security solutions. The first is privacy, as the voter’s computer encrypts the ballot to keep it secret. The second is transparency, enabling all voters to check that their ballots are in, and that each valid one is counted in the tally. Belenios builds on Helios, created by Harvard’s Ben Adida in 2009, and enhances it by preventing ballot stuffing, i.e., the unauthorized casting of more than one vote. Having successfully tested Belenios, the LORIA is now working to make it available to the general public. In December 2014, the laboratory also signed an agreement with Spanish firm Scytl, whose leading e-solutions covering election cycles from pre- to post-election are already used in Europe, Africa, the Americas, and Asia- Pacific. This collaboration should “further increase the potential of e-voting and improve existing solutions,” notes Cortier. By partnering with a company present in 38 countries, the lab is now set to extend its influence to ballot boxes across the world. ii Information Technology devised by DAMAE Medical co-founder and chief scientific officer Arnaud Dubois of the LCF1 could overcome these drawbacks. Patented in 2013, it uses an improved OCT technique to obtain high-resolution images of skin structure in real time. The new method not only provides similar resolution to histology images visible by traditional microscopic analysis of excised tissue samples, but it also gives feedback up to 1 mm deep— penetrating deeper than other high-resolution optical imaging methods. Moreover, as the process leaves the tumor intact, further testing is possible if necessary. By this summer, the team will have completed three prototypes—the first of which is already “operational and efficient,” notes Dubois. The last one will be clinically tested at Hôpital Saint-Louis in Paris later this year prior to commercialization, scheduled for 2016. The team is now “working to create a portable, user-friendly system via software development and miniaturization.” DAMAE Medical won the French government’s 2014 Worldwide Innovation Challenge and the Altran Foundation’s 2014 International Award. Dubois foresees “sales in Europe and the US, as well as in all countries with a high incidence of skin cancer, such as Australia.” ii 1. Laboratoire Charles Fabry (CNRS / Institut d’Optique Graduate School / Université Paris-Sud). www.damaemedical.fr arnaud.dubois@institutoptique.fr More than 280,000 votes were cast online in the 2015 state elections in New South Wales (Australia) using Scytl technology. 1. Laboratoire lorrain de recherche en informatique et ses applications (CNRS / INRIA / Université de Lorraine). veronique.cortier@loria.fr © SCYTL SECURE ELECTRONIC VOTING


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