(HOUSTON) — A team of researchers in Texas are working on an app for iPhone that could one day provide early detection of skin cancer.
The idea out of the University of Houston is rather simple: take a photo of a suspicious mole or lesion with your iPhone’s camera, which is then processed though a series of algorithms that will let you know if the area in question is skin cancer.
That’s the plan for the Dermoscreen, a smartphone technology which is being further tested at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
Keith Lancaster, instructional assistant professor in the UH College of Technology, says it’s an innovation that has the real potential to save lives.
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“We do the same kind of analysis basically that a doctor would do,” Lancaster said.
“We look at the diameter of the thing, it’s color and texture, and based on that we can make a determination of whether or not we think it’s melanoma.”
In addition to a mobile phone, the screening tool uses a dermoscope attachment, a special magnifying lens which provides special illumination of the area being photographed.
Lancaster says, at this point, accuracy of the Dermo-Screen is on par with actual specialists.
“They’re going to get up in the region of 90 percent, and we’re getting in that same region,” he said. “We’re as accurate a professional doing this.”
The hope is that soon after the trials are complete, the app might one day become commercially available for all to use.