On World Cancer Day 2015, general practitioners, physicians and dermatologists in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia are being asked for their feedback during the advanced trial phase of a new, free app that has the potential to play a vital role in the clinical detection of skin cancer.
Developed by Lūbax, the app is the world's first skin identification system using state-of-the-art image recognition software[i]. The app is designed to provide a simple, inexpensive software system to support health professionals in the identification of all types of skin lesions. The first clinical studies of the app carried out in collaboration with Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, and the University of São Paulo show greater than 90% sensitivity and specificity in detecting large melanomas in patients[ii].
“The Lūbax app could provide a major contribution in improving melanoma detection with its innovative technology. As a primary care researcher I am keen to study its usefulness among generalists in different countries and with different thresholds for referral for specialist care,” said Dr Fiona Walter, a General Practitioner & Clinician Scientist from the Department of Public Health and Primary Care at the University of Cambridge.
The app will be made available to healthcare professionals only to limit the potential for misuse or misdiagnosis and is operated by the physician taking a photograph of the skin lesion with their smartphone. The app – currently available on iPhone with an iPad version being developed for later this year – searches a database of over 12,000 diagnosed skin-lesion images, and shows the user the most similar images and their associated clinical diagnoses. With a continuously growing database, over time the app will recognise and differentiate more skin diseases.
“Mobile health apps and the power of the internet have the potential to change the trajectory of premature deaths from cancer worldwide. We encourage all technology entrepreneurs to apply their skills and knowledge to global health issues, including cancer, to help us drive equitable access to information, awareness and early detection,” urges Cary Adams, Chief Executive Officer, Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). “Together with health experts we can create a pipeline of technology-driven solutions which will help all of us access these key levers to address cancer globally. We will let down future generations if we do not press forward exploring and testing new and exciting technology advances as they emerge.”
World Cancer Research Fund