Research planned that aims to further early melanoma detection through the use of cognitive technolo


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IBM announced that it will work in partnership with the Melanoma Institute Australia and MoleMap to advance the identification of melanoma using image analytic technology.

The researchers will analyze de-identified data from 9,000 Australian and New Zealand patients provided by Melanoma Institute Australia. It is estimated that over one million images as well as text-based clinical notes will be included in the analysis to improve the accuracy of IBM’s machine learning algorithms.

The planned research with Melanoma Institute Australia follows an initial joint IBM-MoleMap investigation in 2015 whereby IBM Research performed a retrospective analysis of complex and versatile data sets of 40,000 images, dermatology opinion and diagnosis on each image, spanning three types of skin cancer and 12 benign disease groups. This formative testing on historical data suggested an accurate detection of melanoma from the benign disease groups of 91% on dermoscopy images, and 83% on lower-resolution clinical photography images.

IBM researchers are seeking similar accuracy with this analytical software using lower resolution clinical images to what can be achieved by dermatologists reviewing dermoscopy images.

“Diagnosing melanoma with the naked eye is only about 60 per cent accurate, but dermoscopy can lift that to over 80 per cent. Research using automated analysis of images could provide the next gain in accuracy, especially where dermoscopy is hard to access,” explained Professor Graham Mann PhD, research director at Melanoma Institute Australia, who was quoted in a press release.

“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," said Joanna Batstone PhD, vice president and lab director for IBM Research in Australia, Carlton.


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