? This research aims to reduce the mortality rate associated with melanoma by development of a low-cost, non-invasive, optical biopsy device that can be used effectively by individuals with no particular medical expertise, in a home setting. ? ? Skin Cancer is the most common cancer and melanoma its most fatal form. It is estimated that there will be 91,900 new cases of malignant melanoma and 7600 melanoma deaths in the United States during 2003. Melanoma can be cured if it is diagnosed and treated when the tumor is thin and has not deeply invaded the skin. However, if a melanoma is not removed at its early stages, cancer cells may grow downward from the skin surface, invading healthy tissue. Unfortunately, many melanomas are detected too late and result in significant morbidity and mortality. A need exists to develop a low cost consumer based melanoma detection device. ? ? The goal is to establish early and effective detection of melanoma for the largest population possible, through the network of the commercial marketplace. The study is premised on the understanding that the melanoma mortality rate is directly proportional to stage that is detected and the age of patient tumors prior to detection and excision. The project is motivated by recent research indicating that malignant melanoma has unique elastic scattering characteristics in the visible spectral region when compared with dysplastic and benign naevi, or with normal skin. ? ? The methodology is to clinically identify discrete spectral regions that, when sampled with a simple optical device born of recent innovation in fiber optic, illumination, and detection technology, can reproduce cancerous skin tumor identification with specificity and sensitivity comparable to more costly and cumbersome full-spectrum techniques. Clinical training of the commercial product is accomplished by clinical correlation with histopathological diagnosis. The initiative is accomplished through collaborative expertise in electro-optics, clinical dermatology, bio-medical optics, and medical device commercialization. ? ?