(USA)

Researchers in America have developed an app that uses selfies to screen for pancreatic cancer.

The team from the University of Washington has pioneered the BiliScreen, which combines machine learning, computer vision algorithms and a smartphone camera to pick up signs of an increase in bilirubin levels, in the white part of the eye, which is a an early sign of pancreatic cancer. By detecting this before it can be seen by the naked eye, potentially life-saving action can be taken quicker.

In tests the BiliScreen app used with a ‘3-D printed box that controls the eye’s exposure to light – correctly identified cases of concern 89.7 percent of the time, compared to the blood test currently used’.

“The problem with pancreatic cancer is that by the time you’re symptomatic, it’s frequently too late,” explained lead author Alex Mariakakis, a doctoral student at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering. “The hope is that if people can do this simple test once a month – in the privacy of their own homes – some might catch the disease early enough to undergo treatment that could save their lives.”