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Space technology in the monitoring of pigmented skin lesions
The technology multinational GMV and the Biomedical Research Foundation of Madrid’s Hospital Universitario La Paz (FIBHULP) have launched the DALEM project, collaborating in the development and application of the transfer of space technology for the monitoring of pigmented skin lesions.
Opening up new markets for space technologies and increasing the return on investment in them is one of the objectives of the European Space Agency (ESA). To this end, it has recently opened new calls for proposals aimed at transferring space technologies to other sectors. One of these has taken the form of the DALEM project, in which the technology multinational GMV is collaborating with FIBHULP to improve early diagnosis of skin cancer.
As reported by the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV) and its Healthy Skin Foundation, “the examination and skin screening of each person by dermatologists are key measures to detect melanoma at an early stage and carry out effective treatment to improve the survival rate of patients affected by this skin cancer.”
Numerous studies show that the best way to facilitate early diagnosis of melanoma and reduce related morbidity and mortality is self-examination. Although specialists prescribe periodic check-ups and recommend self-examination, carrying out self-examination becomes more complicated if the number of lesions increases. In addition, patients’ rate of use of self-examination would increase if they could use an accessible device such as a cell phone.
Nowadays, cell phone cameras have sufficient resolution and quality to record an image-based skin map in which pigmented lesions can be identified and traced. Tracking a mole using a cell phone allows a person with no clinical knowledge or special devices to locate and record the evolution of each mole on his or her body over time based on a history of images that the specialist can review at the time of a medical checkup. Thus, adequate screening as a preventive measure in people especially susceptible to developing melanoma would help early diagnosis and reduce morbidity and mortality.
The spatial navigation algorithms developed by GMV, which are based on the vision-based algorithms for the precise descent and landing of space rovers, will be applied to the cell phone-based monitoring of pigmented skin lesions. In the spatial context, so-called navigation strategies are able to match points of interest such as craters or other orographic features from a previously acquired image. This allows location tracking and determination of speed and alignment parameters with the desired landing point.