DermoScreen iPhone App Can Detect Skin Cancer

George Zouridakis, a professor at the University of Houston, has developed DermoScreen, an iPhone app that can be used to take a photo of a suspicious mole or lesion and determine if it is likely to be cancerous.

The app is currently being evaluated at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Early testing has shown it to be accurate about 85% of the time. That's similar to the accuracy rate for dermatologists and more accurate than primary care physicians. If the app detects a suspicious lesion it would refer the patient for follow-up.

In addition to a mobile phone, the technology uses a dermoscope attachment, a special magnifying lens, which costs about $500 and provides special illumination of the area being photographed. DermoScreen could be commercialized soon; investors began expressing interest more than a year ago after a student team from the University’s Wolff Center for Entrepreneurship produced a business plan that won the $60,000 Grand Prize at the 2013 California Dreamin’ National Business Plan Competition and successfully pitched it in competitions around the country.

Dr. Ana Ciurea, assistant professor of dermatology at MD Anderson, said: “Our research with Dr. Zouridakis on his promising iPhone app will focus on evaluating its use for risk assessment and as a screening tool for early detection of melanomas. We are in early stages of planning and approval for this project, but such an application, if validated, has the potential for widespread use to ultimately improve patient care.” 

Notably, a $412,500 grant from the National Institutes of Health has also allowed testing of the device’s ability to screen for Buruli ulcer, a flesh-eating bacterial disease, in Africa.

More details in the full report from UH below...

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