Soon your smartphone selfie will be able to tell you whether or not you are suffering from a disease, including the fatal pancreatic cancer. Yes, you read it right. Called Biliscreen, the pancreatic cancer app uses a smart phone camera, computer vision algorithms and machine leaning tools to find out the content of bilirubin in the eye.
Bilirubin is a brownish yellow substance produced when liver breaks down red blood cells. Under normal conditions, it gets removed from the body through the stool but in case of a disease (like jaundice) it gets stored in the skin and eyes, leading to yellowing of skin and white portion of eyes. Jaundice is an early symptom of pancreatic cancer.
Usually, the yellowing of eyes and skin is visible to naked eye only when jaundice is at a fairly advanced stage, while through the newly developed app, it can be detected in early stages leading to faster treatment and recovery.
The app has been developed by researchers at the University of Washington. The researchers tested 70 people in their initial clinical study, and the app was found successful in 89.7% of the time.
As of now, blood test is the only way to detect the content of bilirubin level. But it is rarely done in routine check-ups. Bilirubin test is done only when a patient shows some visible concerns, and unfortunately by the time a person shows out word symptoms of pancreatic cancer it is often too late. Moreover, bilirubin test requires a healthcare professional, while through the newly developed app, a person can do this simple test him/herself at his/her home.