Every 4 minutes someone is diagnosed with melanoma. Every 10 minutes someone dies from the disease.
It does not have to be this way, the rate of survival of stage I melanoma can be as high as 97%
Skin Analytics mission is to make sure no one dies from the disease. We do that by enabling people to safely and easily screen for melanoma in their own homes using their smartphone, our hardware and our automated analysis using the latest machine learning techniques.
Our first commercial partner is the insurer, Vitality Health, who will take our service to hundreds of customers over the next few months, prior to our public launch. Together we will transform survival rates, reduce treatment costs and empower people to take control of their own health using affordable, accessible technology.
Without Skin Analytics
Almost all melanomas are survivable, but worldwide approximately 25% of sufferers don’t. Survival rates for stage I melanoma are above 95%, but that can drop to less than 10% as the cancer metastises and spreads.
The single most effective way to improve melanoma survival is to find it early and that’s where the problems start. People typically delay seeing their doctor about a worrying lesion for 10 months on average
Multiple studies show that people delay seeing their doctor for a variety of reasons from convenience to not wanting to waste their doctors time and this delay could be fatal.
Even when you do see a doctor, right now an estimated 95% of biopsies turn out to be fine which is costly and causes significant anxiety. We believe this is because the diagnosis is done with incomplete information.
In the US, where the data is best recorded, there are an estimated 1.5 million biopsies done to find just 73,870 melanomas, costing an estimated $500 million in unneeded biopsies.
In the UK, based on our understanding through working with Vitality we estimate there to be 500,000 biopsies done to find just 13,000 melanomas.
Given that melanoma is the fastest growing cancer worldwide and disproportionately affects younger people, a more efficient solution is required.
You can help us to improve melanoma survival rates
If we could find all melanoma in stage I, we could potentially improve the survival rate by 20%. At Skin Analytics, we believe that by providing people the tools they need to take action immediately, we can help to do that.
By decoupling the initial diagnosis from the dermatologist, we believe we can reduce the cost of diagnosis and treatment.
We can also help primary care physicians decide which moles to send on to dermatologists, leading to less biopsies and again lowering the cost of treatment for the disease.
Finally, we believe we can reduce the anxiety people feel by giving them the tools to take action immediately.
The rise of digital health
“We’re moving to this integration of biomedicine, information technology, wireless and mobile now – an era of digital medicine” – Daniel Kraft: Medicines future?
Increasingly it is recongnised that patient based self-care is essential to continue to improve the health care system while reducing the cost of provisioning such quality care.
The NHS Five Year Forward Plan, released in 2014, stated self-care as a key pillar of it’s plan.
Private industry around the globe has been quick to support the trend also with the Kaiser Foundation releasing their Health Plan, which identified internet based patient care the next generation of healthcare delivery.
Skin Analytics has pulled together the right people to build the right technology at the right time to enable this future for melanoma diagnosis.
Our solution has two key technologies that enable the service we envisage.
Dermoscopic imaging device
We are building a beautifully designed, affordable, dermascopic lens to capture dermatologist quality images for analysis. The lens will be a standalone device with a chip that connects wirelessly to an app on our customers’ phone.
Machine learning learning algorithms
Our innovative machine learning algorithms work in two parts.
- First they assess the image of a lesion and provide an instant assessment as to whether the lesion needs medical intervention.
- Second our change detection algorithms allow a follow up image to be captured over a suitable time period and compared with original image for change.
By combining these two features, we will meet the NICE guideline for melanoma diagnosis. We have a patent pending for this technology.
How the service works for a consumer
We will provide a remote skin cancer diagnostic service for use by individuals and medical professionals. Outlined below is how a consumer would use our service.
- Register a new account online to be sent lens kit by next day delivery
- Download the supporting mobile app to aid image capture and upload
- Capture an image of the lesion with the dermoscopic attachment
- Receive an instant diagnosis by our automated computer vision algorithms
- Capture a second image 8 weeks later and get a second evaluation to improve the clinical gold standard
- Recieve ongoing management for whole family using remote monitoring service
Our service will be intuitive and put control into the hands of users. We want every home to have a Skin Analytics skin check kit in the bathroom cabinet.
Neil Daly started the company in 2012 because of a personal interest in melanoma and a desire to build a business that would transform healthcare. He brought his experience in mobile innovation from four years of launching mobile financial service products with mobile operators and banks around the world.
Very quickly the company gained support from two computer vision professors at the University of Cambridge, Elena Punskaya and the late Bill Fitzgerald and secured an Innovate UK grant to build a team.
At our core, we are an computer vision company, building cutting edge algorithms to use in healthcare diagnosis. Over the past 3 years we have created all our IP in house and built a leading team of technical experts.
We have just launched our service with our first partner, Vitality Health, a leading provider of health insurance services in the UK, US and South Africa.
Vitality uses our service as part of their new online GP offering and any customer who calls up a Vitality GP with a suspicious mole will be sent our service in the post and the test can be completed at home. Initial feedback is hugely positive from Vitality. It is important to note that we use a dermatologist to review the images currently as we finalise our product.
Beyond our launch we’ve been testing the market demand for the last 8 months through a website detailing the proposition and offering consumers the chance to complete a purchase. To date, we’ve generated 180,000 visitors to the site with 26,000 virtual purchases.
We have also been in contact with a number of pharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, Merck and GSK. Additionally private GP providers such as Rood Lane, Lifescan and Virgin Health have expressed an interest.
Key achievements to date
- Securing leading academics to advise our technology
- Securing two highly competitive Innovate UK grants
- Being selected as a Deloitte Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Fellow
- Being selected in the first cohort of Wayra Unlimited
- Being selected for the Founder.org mentorship program
- Building a partnership with the dermatology team at University College Hospital
- Building a database of Melanoma images to further improve the accuracy of our algorithm
- Being nominated as a Nominet 100 company
- Being invited to give a TED talk at Warwick University – one of the largest TEDx event in the Europe