Creating a holistic diagnostic and assessment tool for early detection of melanoma

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Niamh Aspell | Senior Research Analyst

Date: 22 October 2021

Trilateral joins 18 partners from across the EU and Australia in iToBoS, a research project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, which aims to build new diagnostic tools for the early detection of melanoma.

Skin cancer is one of the most common human malignancies, and its incidence has been increasing in the last decade. Within the general category of skin cancers, melanoma constitutes the main cause of death. According to the latest statistics, cutaneous melanoma (i.e., affecting the skin) is currently the sixth most common type of cancer in Europe, with more than 144,000 new cases diagnosed in 2018.

Fortunately, melanoma may be cured if treated at an early stage. With early treatment, more than 90% of melanoma patients are still alive after 5 years. Mortality risk increases if the cancer grows into deeper layers of the skin or if distant spread of cancer cells occurs (metastatic melanoma), and the proportion of patients alive after 5 years may be 23% or lower. For these reasons, early diagnosis is essential to ensure treatment is undertaken at an early stage.

The scope of the iToBoS project is to develop and validate a new diagnostic device together with an AI cognitive assistant tool to empower healthcare practitioners to make comprehensive patient-tailored diagnosis of skin cancer, leading to improved detection rates and highly personalized diagnosis.

This new diagnostic tool will utilize the most recent advances in AI to facilitate the usage of data already obtained through traditional assessment (dermoscopic images) together with the data acquired using the novel hardware proposed in iToBoS.

Furthermore, the underlying algorithms will integrate any additional patient information from various sources (e.g., patient medical history, genomics, location of every naevus, age, sex, etc.) with the goal of providing a holistic assessment of individual moles while considering the specific characteristics of each patient.

With systematic successive explorations of a patient, the system will be able to robustly determine the changes occurring in the individual moles, a key indicator in the detection of skin cancer. T

The proposed holistic approach will enable physicians to diagnose skin diseases earlier and with higher accuracy, thus increasing effectiveness and efficiency in personalized clinical decision making.

Trilateral’s role

Trilateral’s role in the project is to maximize benefits and minimize the risks of the AI technology with consideration to ethical and social values.

In collaboration with all involved stakeholders (e.g., technical developers, AI scientists, clinicians, patient representatives), social and ethical challenges will be examined and used to improve clinician and patient understanding of the role AI can play in healthcare and to assist in the adoption of innovative technologies in the dermatological context.

Patient and clinician understanding will be further enhanced through the application of explainable AI (XAI) methods. This will allow users to comprehend, trust and understand the the results and outputs generated by the iToBoS algorithms.

Trilateral will also conduct a comprehensive privacy impact assessment of the iToBoS technologies to ensure the secure handling of patient data complying with existing regulations at both European and national levels.

Trilateral’s effort ultimately aims at increasing the sustainability of the project’s results by producing guidelines for healthcare professionals, patients, care- givers and -receivers and related EU projects.

Meet the Team

The consortium with 19 partner organizations is led by the University of Girona (Spain). This international consortium brings together leading research/academic institutions (5 research centres), industries (4 companies and 6 SMEs) and end-users’ entities (3 hospitals and 1 patients’ NPO): University of Girona (Spain), Optotune Switzerland AG (Switzerland), IBM Israel-Science and technology Ltd (Israel), Robert Bosch España Fábrica Madrid SA (Spain), Barco NV (Belgium), National Technical University of Athens-NTUA (Greece), Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universitaet Hannover (Germany), Fundació Clinic per a la Recerca Biomédica (Spain), Ricoh Spain IT Services SLU (Spain), Trilateral Research Limited (Ireland) Universita degli Studi di Trieste (Italy), Coronis Computing SL (Spain), Torus Actions (FR), V7 LTD (United Kingdom), ISAHIT (France), The University of Queensland (Australia), Szamitastechnikai es Automatizalasi Kutatointezet (Hungary), Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der Angewandten Forschung E.V. (Germany), Melanoma Patient Network Europe (Sweden).

For more information follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn or sign up for our project newsletter.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement No 965221.

For more information, please contact our team.

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