Innovations in Research

Stephens and Associates continually works to innovate in developing processes for advanced evaluation and reporting techniques in clinical studies. Our recent innovations include advances in subject photography, Image analysis, and biomarker analysis.

Image analysis

Historically, photographs of subjects were only used to document clinical changes, but with new innovative methodologies Stephens has developed image analysis macros in conjunction with Image Pro™, and data can be collected and evaluated from your clinical trial photographs.  Our image analysis will provide you with a new, powerful and objective way to detect and quantify changes in various skin parameters.

Stephens’ image analysis method, SWIRL (Stephens Wrinkle Imaging using Raking Light), has been published in the June 2013 issue of the peer-reviewed journal, Skin Research and Technology.  See below for more details on the method.  (Download publication)

In addition to the wrinkle analysis, Stephens can analyze your images for the features listed below.  If a feature you are interested in is not listed below, please let us know and we would collaborate with you to develop it.

  • Pigmentation
  • Pores
  • Erythema
  • Skin Tone
  • Oily Skin
  • Dry Skin
  • Facial Cleansing (example: % makeup removed)
  • Stratum Corneum Turn over
  • Skin Roughness
  • Fingernail Growth
  • Hair Growth
  • Silicone Replicas (Wrinkles and Roughness)
Example of RLOP capturing and quantifying changes in wrinkling in the periocular area.
Week 8
Week 8
Examples of cross polarized lighting technique, visible light photography and raking light photography in respective order.

SWIRL (Stephens Wrinkle Imaging Using Raking Light)

Stephens began developing the method in response to the increasing demand for an objective and quantitative assessment of facial wrinkles before and after treatment from prescription products, cosmetic products or aesthetic procedures.  The SWIRL method analyzes the wrinkle severity at multiple areas on the face, such as the crow’s feet, under eye, forehead, and upper lip areas. Five parameters are quantified and reported including the number, length, width, area, and depth of wrinkles.  This method has been validated through clinical studies and demonstrates excellent correlation with clinical grading.

Biomarker Analysis

Through Stephens & Associates, Inc. continued collaboration with a leading pathology laboratory and a leading genomic service provider, Stephens & Associates, Inc. can facilitate the collection of skin biopsies and the subsequent analysis of various biomarker endpoints. The incorporation of biomarker analysis into clinical trials can provide Sponsors with a better understanding of the mechanism of action that underlies the effects associated with a treatment product or even a single ingredient. As an example, Stephens & Associates, Inc. has been able to document the in vivo antioxidant effects of a topical treatment product.

Anti-oxidant protected site
Thymine dimers-unprotected UV site from UV exposure