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Skin Lesions Monitoring Framework

Country of Origin: Portugal
Reference Number: TOPT20180911002
Publication Date: 13 December 2018

Summary

A Portuguese research and technology organisation (RTO) has developed a skin lesions monitoring framework as a solution to enhance skin lesions data collection, automate melanoma risk stratification and improve patient-doctor communication. The RTO is looking for industry partners to commercially exploit this technology. License agreements or  research cooperation agreements may also be considered.

Description

A Portuguese RTO has developed a skin lesions monitoring framework as a solution to enhance skin lesions data collection, automate melanoma risk stratification and improve patient doctor communication.

The monitoring framework integrates 3 modular components:

- Referral mobile application of skin lesions for healthcare professionals (SLR):
Using this mobile application, general practitioners from Local Healthcare Units can acquire relevant dermatological information by using a smartphone, an adaptable dermoscope and the application itself. This solution is based in a simple and intuitive workflow that uses real time image processing algorithms to improve image acquisition (automatic focus and capture). Moreover, it facilitates attaching the acquired data to the commonly used referral forms of the Hospital Information Systems.

- Tele dermatology system for patient-doctor communication (TSC).This system is comprised of 3 parts:

(1) the Patient Mobile Application, the Back-End server and the Web Interface.
Using the Android Patient Mobile Application, the patients can capture images of their skin lesions or load them from the mobile image gallery. Each patient can add several skin lesions, and each skin lesion can have several check-up images along time. For each skin lesion, the patient also indicates its location and size, as well as some additional information to transmit to the dermatologist, such as itching or redness. After a dermatologist validates a check-up using the Web Interface, the system sends a report to the patient’s mobile application. In this way, the patient can keep a record of the evolution of their skin lesions, always under the supervision of a dermatology specialist.

(2) The Back-end Server hosts the system database and the Image Processing Module (IPM).
The IPM receives the skin lesion images acquired by the patient using the mobile application, analyses different features of the skin lesion using supervised classification and determines an Overall Risk of the skin lesion. When the dermatologists examine a new check-up, they can always consult the output of the automatic analysis, which can assist them in the risk triage of the skin lesion.

(3) Using the Web Interface, dermatologists can consult and validate the check-up images sent by the patients. Each dermatologist can keep a record of the patients and respective skin lesions. The Web Interface is also used by the system administrator, which has the possibility to add new dermatologists to the database. Additionally, the administrator can consult the automatically generated statistics that compare the automatic analysis with the dermatologist’s analysis.

- Image Processing Module for automatic melanoma risk assessment (IPM):
This is a machine-learning algorithm based on image processing to automatically assess the risk of skin lesion images with images collected through a smartphone without additional accessories. This software automatically processes and performs extraction of significant features for melanoma risk assessment purposes, with the goal of assisting the specialists in the triage process.

From its foundation with 12 employees, this RTO now has two offices in Portugal employing around 80 researchers.
With a client portfolio from a broad range of areas, such as health, agriculture, retail or energy, the organisation has consolidated competences in:

- Human-Centred Design
- Artificial Intelligence
- Cyber-Physical Systems

Since 2009, it has been involved in 10 European projects and established partnerships with over 150 organizations in 31 countries.

The RTO is looking for industry partners that are interested in commercially exploiting this technology (e.g. through integration in other industries product portfolio). They are considering the signing of a commercial agreement with technical assistance, license agreement or a research cooperation agreement.

Advantages and Innovations

Innovative Features:
- SLR: uses real-time image processing algorithms to greatly facilitate image acquisition and
guarantee the suitability of the captured images;
- SLR: The skin referral component follows the 005/2014 norm of the Portuguese regulatory Institute for Health for the acquisition of skin images for tele dermatology screening;
- TSC: adaptable tool that evolves with the collected feedback, i.e. the classification models
are continuously improved using the new cases validated by the dermatologists;
- IPM: automatic melanoma risk assessment algorithm for skin lesion images acquired exclusively with smartphones, and without any type of magnification.

Advantages / Benefits
- SLR: Greatly facilitates the acquisition of relevant dermatological data by non-specialists,
such as general practitioners;
- SLR: Minimizes risk of errors when collecting dermatological data, which consequently
reduces the number of clinical cases returned by dermatology departments during the
referral process;
- SLR: Optimizes the triage process for patients examined in Local Health Centers;
- SLR: facilitates attaching the acquired data to the referral form of the Hospital Information
System;
- TSC: Allows for continuous improvement of the classification algorithm, based on specialist
users’ feedback;
- TSC: Motivates and educates patients for the regular monitoring of their skin health status;
- TSC: Improves the communication between patients and dermatologists;
- IPM: Does not require magnified images to automatically assess the risk of skin lesion images
(uses smartphone captured images);
- IPM: Algorithm may be easily improved with more data available

Stage Of Development

Available for demonstration

Stage Of Development Comment

Technology Readiness Level (TRL)
SLR: TRL 7 – system prototype demonstration in operational environment
TSC and IPM: TRL 5 – technology validated in relevant environment (industrially relevant
environment in the case of key enabling technologies)
Note 1: The components of this framework were developed without concerns of scalability, security, data integrity or privacy.
Note 2: None of the components has gone through clinical trials or medical device certification.

Requested partner

Industry partner interested in commercially exploiting this technology (e.g. through integration in its product portfolio).
License and research cooperation agreements may also be considered.

Kooperationsanfrage stellen