Transcript for the video embedded on the Doctoral College Celebrating your research page.
[Music plays and the University of Leeds logo appears]
[The title appears on screen: 3 minute thesis, 14/14, Anna Berekméri, Tape Stripping: a non-invasive technique to diagnose inflammatory skin diseases]
[Three images on screen: a photo of a hand, peeling a tiny piece of tape from skin using tweezers, a close up image of the tape with skin cells visible on it and a sketch of a person with a question mark and the words eczema and psoriasis written on them]
[Voiceover by Anna:]
You imagine that you have a skin disease. It's red inflamed and itchy and you feel embarrassed about it because everyone can see it so you really want it to be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.
[Anna appears on screen – stood in a room in front of a screen delivering a talk to an audience that are not shown. Anna continues]
So you go to your doctor, who examines you and says “hmm I have no idea what this is” because you see more skin rashes are red inflamed and itchy and although sometimes usually they have their distinct clinical features and characteristics, sometimes it is difficult to establish the diagnosis even for a veteran dermatologist.
But fear not, because your doctor has a solution: let's take a biopsy. Now a biopsy is an invasive procedure when we cut into your skin to take a piece of it so we can examine it under the microscope. It involves needles, blades, bleeding, risk of infection, scar formation, pain and there is a slight chance that it might not give you the answer.
My project focused on the development of a non-invasive diagnostic tool called tape stripping, so we don't have to cut into your skin to establish the diagnosis you have and this is possible because your skin is amazing; it is formed by millions of cells. Your skin gets red inflamed and itchy because these cells start producing molecules to protect you.
Each skin disease has its specific molecular signature or disease fingerprint and thanks to modern science you are now able to measure and identify these molecules, so instead of a biopsy let's take a simple tape. And this is the big idea - place it on your skin, press it, remove it, repeat the same movement ten times and you will be able to collect enough skin material to be measured to be able to measure these molecules, identify them, translate their message and differentiate between different skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis.
It's a simple technique which I was able to use not only to diagnose skin diseases but also to follow up disease development and to predict if a patient would respond to certain treatment. It's simple, non-invasive and could be used in your GP , because we all know how long you have to wait to see a specialist.
Will it replace biopsies? I don't know yet, but it is definitely the future. Thank you for your attention.
[University of Leeds logo on the screen]