According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare in 2019, on average, an estimated 136 people will die from cancer each day in Australia, with breast cancer estimated to be the most commonly diagnosed cancer. However when breast cancer is detected early, women have a much greater chance of being treated successfully and for most women the cancer will not return after treatment.
Mammograms are the primary diagnostic tool for detecting breast cancer. However, cancers can still be missed on a complex image background, resulting in women not being diagnosed early enough.
To combat this problem, Professor Patrick Brennan, Professor Mary Rickard and Dr Moe Suleiman from the University of Sydney have developed a start-up company DetectED-X. Using intelligent, interactive, web-based systems, DetectED-X provides solutions aiming to improve the detection of disease for clinicians and medical trainees. DetectED-X is a part of the Sydney Knowledge Hub.
Using the software, diagnostic radiography clinicians and trainees worldwide can log in and test their knowledge by diagnosing a set of images for cancer detection. Using clinically relevant test cases, readers review medical images in the same way they would in a real-life situation. The program gives instant feedback to the user on their performance and diagnosis. The result being that radiologists and other clinicians will improve their cancer detection in patients.
Professor Patrick Brennan says: “This interactive web-based test sets approach is working — we have seen an impressive 34% improvement in cancer detection among clinicians when using our test sets.”
Unique to this platform is the ability for clinicians to use this software worldwide. Australia has a high success rate in diagnosing cancers, but other countries do not have the same success rates.
“Our ultimate goal is to have a much more uniform standard for breast cancer diagnosis from diagnostic imaging around the world. Giving women worldwide a better chance of cancer survival,” says Professor Brennan.
The DetectED-X programs have been accredited in Australia, New Zealand and the United States and the team has been meeting with industry associations in China, SE Asia, Europe, and the Middle East around implementing the platform in these world regions.
DetectED-X was recently awarded the Australasian Startup of the Year for Community and Social Good. This competition was organised by StartCon, Australia’s largest startup and growth conference and involved companies from across the 48 Asian Pacific countries.
Professor Patrick Brennan's research involves exploring novel technologies and techniques that enhance the detection of clinical indicators of disease, whilst minimising risk to the patient. His research has involved most major imaging modalities including X-ray, computerised tomography, ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging, with a particular focus on breast and chest imaging.