TORONTO, Feb. 02, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Skinopathy, a Canadian medical company founded in 2020, has filed a provisional patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology that will help guide surgeons when performing skin cancer excisions.
Healthcare practitioners will be able to use the AI technology – which determines, pixel by pixel, the boundaries of cancerous skin tissue – by simply taking a picture with their smartphones. The AR technology will then provide surgeons with an overlay of those boundaries through the screen.
Next level healthcare
Cancerous skin tissue can sometimes extend beyond the measurable lesion and is typically unseen to even the most eagle-eyed surgeon.
That is why some surgeons choose to be overly cautious and remove more skin than might be necessary to prevent the need for further surgery, which can lead to visible scarring and other disfigurements. Conversely, it is possible that cancerous tissue remains following an excision due to the vagaries of the human body, quality-of-life considerations, or experience of the surgeon. This can potentially lead to continued growth and additional excisions in the future.
Once ready, surgeons will have access to cutting-edge technology that will lead to more informed medical decisions and significantly reduce the hardships felt by the patient and the strain levied on the healthcare system.
“This will revolutionize skin cancer treatment,” says Alexander Shevchenko, Lead Engineer at Skinopathy. “We are providing surgeons with an additional skin cancer fighting tool they can carry in their pockets every day.”
Preventing advanced stages of skin cancer
Skin cancer is more prevalent than colon, lung, breast, and prostate cancers combined and typically present in very unspectacular ways.
Moles, skin tags, and rashes are rarely viewed as causes for concern and are often dismissed until the discomfort becomes greater than the hassle of seeing a doctor. But it is during that time of latency where dangerous conditions can fester and become deadly. When people finally take action, they are often subject to long wait times or need to travel hundreds (if not thousands) of kilometres to access physicians in a major urban centre.
Using this technology, people will be able to take pictures of their skin lesion and get an immediate and accurate analysis that will advise on the severity of their condition and provide online access to healthcare practitioners in a matter of days, sometimes even hours.
“This is a tremendous milestone for skin cancer,” says Dr. Colin Hong, Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer of Skinopathy. “We are using technology to streamline the medical bureaucracy to ensure no one slips through the cracks.”
It now takes weeks, sometimes months, to see a skin cancer specialist, and during that time cancerous tissue can grow rapidly and spread to other organs. Making matters worse is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has added more delays and obstacles.
Geographically agnostic technology
Skinopathy is using the same kind of technology used for the “Re-Captcha” security feature found on many websites. However, instead of using AI to determine the difference between a fire hydrant and a bus, Skinopathy is using it to determine the miniscule differences between a mole and a cancerous lesion.
Using real-world images taken by physicians and beta users using their smartphones, the Skinopathy prototypes have yielded 87% accuracy for nine different skin conditions, such as keratosis, and performed even more impressively for basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma with accuracy rates ranging from 87% to 96%.
“We are very excited about these results,” says Dr. Rakesh Joshi, Lead Data Scientist at Skinopathy. “There are very subtle nuances on how skin lesions present on the skin, and our models are able to detect the smallest of variances.”
Since the technology being developed is geographically agnostic, it can be deployed anywhere in the world and bring needed medical care to under-serviced regions. You can learn more about the technology here.
Skin cancer facts and stats
The Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation states that 1 in 3 cancers diagnosed worldwide is skin cancer and that they outnumber lung, breast, prostate, and colon cancers combined.
Data from the Public Health Agency of Canada suggests the costs associated with skin and subcutaneous tissue diseases was over 2 Billion Dollars in 2010.
Research suggests there is a skin cancer epidemic in the elderly.
Founded in 2020, Skinopathy is a medical company creating Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), and automation technology that will ensure people and healthcare practitioners receive convenient, reliable, and State-Of-The-Art skin cancer mitigation tools. Its first service, GetSkinHelp.com, is already helping patients connect with specialists through its virtual platform.