Cancer diagnosis by selfie
A new app detects pancreatic cancer by the whites of the eyes
Anna Kerman, XX2 century, based on Engadget: App detects pancreatic cancer from the whites of your eyes
The application is able to "see" the yellowing of proteins before it becomes noticeable to the human eye.
Pancreatic cancer is very dangerous: only 9% of patients with this diagnosis live more than five years. The main reason is that when the signs become noticeable, it means that the cancer is already at an advanced stage. But researchers from the University of Washington have created a simple and accurate screening method that does not require medical intervention.
They developed the BiliScreen application, which uses a smartphone camera and uses special algorithms to calculate the level of bilirubin in the whites of the eyes. With pancreatic cancer, the level of bilirubin increases, which eventually turns the whites of the eyes yellow (as with hepatitis). But the yellow whites of the eyes mean that pancreatic cancer has already developed significantly. BiliScreen detects even very low levels of bilirubin and informs the user whether his indicators are grounds for concern and further tests. This is easier and cheaper than the blood test commonly used to detect pancreatic cancer, and it can be done even before the signs of the disease appear.
"Pancreatic cancer is currently a terrible disease for which there are no effective methods of early diagnosis," says Jim Taylor, one of the authors of the project. "Our goal is to make sure that people can diagnose it early enough, when surgery can still prolong life."
To make an adjustment for lighting, the application must be used either with a special box that cuts off external light and thereby eliminates the possibility of error due to different color reflections in the eyes, or with paper glasses with colored squares on the frame, according to which the application adjusts color correction.
In a small clinical study on 70 people, it was found that when used with a box, the BiliScreen application determines the level of bilirubin in the blood with an accuracy of 90% relative to a standard laboratory blood test.
Now researchers are working to ensure that the application can be used without additional accessories. Scientists are going to present their development at the Ubicomp 2017 conference, which will be held next month.
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