QUEENSLAND will be the center of the world's first network of "spectacular" 3D imaging machines that will revolutionize the early detection of deadly melanoma by creating a patient's full body avatar.
The state has the highest rates of melanoma in the world with more than 3600 cases diagnosed and close to 350 deaths from skin cancer each year.
It was announced today that a $ 10m grant from the Australian Cancer Research Foundation will fund the installation of 15 cutting-edge walk-in imaging capsules across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, with five located in Queensland public hospitals.
The University of Queensland will also lead the establishment of the ACRF Australian Center for Excellence in Melanoma Imaging and Diagnosis at the UQ Diamantina Institute. The center will be a hub for collecting imaging data and research and service in the telemedicine network across the three states.
In just a few months, Queensland patients will be screened and have a full-body, digital avatar in milliseconds. The avatar allows for improved tracking and identification of skin spots.
"The first machines will be rolled out early next year and are likely to be located at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, the Sunshine Coast University Hospital and the Cairns Hospital. In my 30 years of work in dermatology, I can say this is the most spectacular skin imaging possible, "UQ's Dermatology Research Center Director Professor H Peter Soyer said.
It's estimated that each of the 15 new 3D imaging machines will be able to provide 3000 examinations each year, resulting in approximately 100,000 digital avatars within three years.
Professor Ian Brown of the Australian Cancer Research Foundation said the grant would boost the country's melanoma research capability.
"The ACRF Australian Center for Excellence in Melanoma Imaging and Diagnosis is a world-first approach to improving early detection, thus tackling the significant national burden of melanoma," Professor Brown said.
"By providing the machines in the capital and regional centers across Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria with the potential to expand the network across the whole of Australia, coupled with innovative telemedicine capabilities, this bold project will enhance the ability to improve the early detection of melanoma and save oneself, "he said.
Queensland is already leading the way by trialling the imaging system at the Clinical Research Facility of the Translational Research Institute.
Brisbane's Lana Elliott is 26 years old and was diagnosed with melanoma last year.
"I did not like the look of one of my moles and I went to the doctor. I had it cut out and luckily did not need any treatment. But I am now very wary of the risks of melanoma, and this kind of technology is It's just unbelievable and a great relief to see such big developments being being made, "she said.