Can cognitive technology assist with melanoma identification?

Can cognitive technology assist with melanoma identification?

29 June 2016

Melanoma Institute Australia has partnered with IBM Research in Australia to help further advance melanoma identification using cognitive technology – sometimes called ‘artificial intelligence’.

Melanoma Institute Australia operates the world’s largest melanoma research and treatment facility, and controls the largest melanoma research database in the world. “Research that enables the earlier detection of melanoma is likely to save more lives in the future,” says Professor Graham Mann, Research Director at Melanoma Institute Australia. “The five-year survival rate for melanoma is only 64 percent once the disease reaches the lymph nodes. However this rises to 95 percent if detected before then. Diagnosing melanoma with the naked eye is only about 60 percent accurate, but dermoscopy can lift that to over 80 percent. Research using automated analysis of images could provide the next gain in accuracy, especially where dermoscopy is hard to access.”

Using advanced visual analytics IBM Research will conduct retrospective analysis on de-identified data, which will include access to more than one million images as well as text based clinical notes in an effort to improve the accuracy of its machine learning algorithms. IBM’s cognitive technology would aim to learn to understand skin cancers such as melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma using lower resolution clinical images, with a goal of similar accuracy to what can be achieved with dermoscopy images.

Dr. Joanna Batstone, Vice President and Lab Director, IBM Research – Australia said, “Cognitive computing has the ability to process vast amounts of complex data including images and text very quickly, something that isn’t possible by current manual methods.  Another major benefit of the self-learning technology is that it improves as more and more data is fed into it. This initiative could inform future research and, potentially, the development of offerings that could have enormous implications for both the Australian public and the health system.”

 

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