Artificial Intelligence on skin cancer
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DERMAI AB was founded in november 2017 as a startup company focusing on artificial intelligence on skin diseases. In our project, we will use a large number of already available dermatoscopic images from pigmented lesions ranging from benign nevi to advanced melanoma. Our aim is to create an algorithm that can detect even subtle alterations with increased risk of malignancy and develop a software that can be used as a decision tool in the daily routine for pigmented lesions in primary care. This software can democratize dermoscopy screening by reducing the cost and effort to get a high quality aid in decision making. We will use standard mobile devices with high resolution cameras outfitted with dermatoscopes already on the market today. Based on an unbiased assessment of the image and medical records by the AI, patients can be prioritized such that only cases with an increased / high risk will be assessed by dermatologists. The use of artificial intelligence would most likely not only lead to increase in sensitivity but also an increase in specificity, which is desirable as it reduces the number of unnecessary excisions. We expect our product to reduce the number of pathological samples that need to be sent for evaluation, and less malignant lesions will be missed by the GPs. In effect, human lives will be saved and the waiting lists for consultation of both dermatologists and pathologists can be expected to be shortened. All this together will have a high impact on the economic value of the healthcare system.
The skin is the tissue most commonly affected by cancer and the incidence of skin cancer in Sweden is higher than for all other cancer types combined. This is rarely seen in Swedish cancer statistics, because basal cell cancer is usually omitted. This of course places high demands on dermatological competence to assess suspect skin tumors, as well as to handle large patient volumes in a patient-safe manner. In many other countries with significant numbers of inhabitants being sensitive to sunlight, such as the United States and Australia, the incidence of skin cancer is high and, year-by-year, ascending. Malignant melanoma in the skin has increased in Sweden since the 1960s and, despite having a lower incidence than other skin cancers, is the most lethal form of skin cancer. In this respect, it is the only, of all, cancers in Sweden for which the number of deaths has continued to increase (in recent years by over 500 per year). Malignant melanoma develops from our pigment-bearing cells, the melanocytes, which in addition to the skin are in the eyes and mucous membranes (in fewer numbers). Early detection is crucial for the prognosis, as melanoma grows thicker over time, and the thickness has a direct correlation to metastasis and risk of death. Since even the trained physician can not to 100% determine what skin lesion is malignant or not, an excess of excisions of suspected lesions is still needed. The specimen is then sent for pathological examination in the microscope for verification if it is benign or malignant. Dermatologists have shown to be superior to General practitioners (GPs) in their ability to detect melanoma early. Dermatologists can also safely determine, with the help of patient history, inspection and dermoscopy, whether it is safe for the patient to avoid unnecessary biopsy or excision. For Swedish health care conditions, it has been shown that overall healthcare costs can be reduced if patients are assessed by dermatologists as their primary contact, compared to GPs. This is partly due to the fact that patients starting in primary care are often later referred to the dermatologist, adding an unnecessary time delay. But the majority of savings are due to less uncalled-for surgery. At the same time, literature shows that the clinical diagnosis of cutaneous melanoma even by a trained dermatologist, has shortcomings in both specificity and sensitivity. In particular, complementary anamnesis, status and dermoscopy have been demanded to further reduce the number of excisions while maintaining the same level of patient safety. Excisions are costly but also create unnecessary anxiety while awaiting the report from the pathologist. Furthermore, the number of outpatient dermatologists and pathologists is too small to cover the demand in Sweden.
DERMAI AB was 2018 fonded by grants from the Swedish Innovation Agency.
Philip Jerlmyr: Founder and chair of the board : BA in Marketing and Advertising, University of the Arts, London College of Communication. Executive MBA, Handelshögskolan in Stockholm, 2009-2010. Former CEO of Due Diligence.
Magnus Kjellman MD PhD Associate Professor Karolinska Institutet. Founder and CEO. Magnus is educated at Karolinska Institutet and the health economy IFL executive programme Handelshögskolan.
Kevin Smith, Founder. PhD, assistant professor at the School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC) at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, a faculty member at the Science for Life Laboratory, and director of the Bioimage Informatics National Facility node in Stockholm. Kevin's research focuses on machine learning and computer vision with applications in biomedical imaging.
Hossein Azizpour, Founder. PhD. Hossein Azizpour is an assistant professor at KTH, department of Robotics, Perception, and Learning (RPL) specializing in deep learning.
Viveca Åberg more than 25 years of experience as research nurse. Masters degree in science at Karolinska Institutet.