A new technology has been developed by a Tucson company that provides a full body scan of a person’s skin, allowing doctors to track changes over time to detect skin diseases.
Ted Simons: Derm-Spectra is a Tucson company behind new technology that provides a full body scan of a person's skin, allowing doctors to track changes over time to detect skin diseases. Karleen Seybold is the cofounder and CEO of Derm-Spectra, and Dr. Clara Curiel is the company's cofounder and chief medical officer. It is Derm-Spectra, correct, I got that part -- okay, good because this medical stuff can throw me sometimes. A full body scan of your skin. Explain, please.
Karleen Seybold: Well, we have imaging technology that does high resolution standardized imaging of your skin in order for a physician to track changes over time. So, the idea is to have accessible, affordable imaging that can be part of your medical record.
Ted Simons: Is this the kind of imaging, like an MRI, like a CAT scan, like a photo, what kind of imaging?
Karleen Seybold: No, it's digital imaging, high resolution digital imaging, but very standardized and done in a way that can be compared as you collect these images over time.
Ted Simons: And we're seeing this guy here, animation now, is this basically what happens? You go in and -- you're not necessarily looking for something, you're just looking for anything?
Clara Curiel: Anything. Because if you think about it, when you go to see your physicians, whether it is your primary care or dermatologist, when you go in right now, they look at your skin and what do they do next. They write down what they're looking at. They don't have an image to use as documentation. So, when you start accumulating this number of images over time, you have the flexibility of going back and compare what the patient has from that date to what they had before. Whether it is a mole, a rash, but specifically what is really important is looking for the detection of skin cancer at early stages.
Ted Simons: Indeed, you are looking for changes. Aren't you?
Clara Curiel: Changes, something that is new or was there before that is now different. And it is hard to keep track of the lesions over time.
Ted Simons: And now, it sounds like from what I was reading there are multiple images that are kind of stitched together, is that how it works as well?
Karleen Seybold: That's correct. Right now, we have nine poses to cover 85% of the body area and we have nine cameras that collect the images and we put them together to use as a navigation technique. You see a full body image.
Ted Simons: And when you see the image, and you say something looks a little different here, are you saying that is a bit of a change? Do you -- how is it marked and how do you know what to look for next time?
Karleen Seybold: We have a specific application that we developed to go along with this. We have a server database so those images are stored securely and then we developed a very efficient viewing application for the physician--so it's like an iPad application that you can go on and annotate those images and then they can be saved back to the server.
Ted Simons: I was going to ask, how much training is needed by physicians to use the equipment for their patients?
Clara Curiel: Not very much. It's like grabbing your iPhone, your iPad. If you think about it, for the physician, it's a very busy day. They go back-to-back, ten minutes per patient. So you can't possibly slow them down. If anything, it is increasing accuracy in the documentation, but they are navigating in a very intuitive way through the images. They click on a mole, put a circle around the mole, what do I do next? I biopsy the mole and then, you know, I'm going to follow this patient the next number of weeks. It is all done one after the other. You don't have to spend too much time annotating in the standard medical record.
Ted Simons: And if you see something or it hasn't changed or if you see something and you know it is not a problem, again, there is data storage to say not a problem. But just keep an eye on this thing.
Clara Curiel: And you can mark it too, and say we are not worried, we are sure, and then you move on.
Ted Simons: Not just for skin cancer though, right? There are other diseases that this can track?
Karleen Seybold: Yes, it's really for anything, anything that appears on your skin. We view it as more of an image center documentation. So instead of taking handwritten notes, I can take high resolution imaging of you and store that in my records and next year when you come in I can continue to track what is happening on the skin.
Ted Simons: Indeed, so anything from psoriasis, as you mentioned rash --?
Clara Curiel: The other applications are very interesting. For example, tele-medicine, teledermatology. Some patients are now being seen remotely. You can acquire images in a faraway place, and because it's comprehensive, total body, they can be, you know, diagnosed, assessed at another center and then provide the feedback. Other application for clinical trials, to instruct development you need very standardized documentation, and we are actually participating now in trials for proper objective -
Ted Simons: To make sure there isn't a rash breaking out because of a particular drawback. That is -- how did this get started? You are cofounders. How did this get started?
Karleen Seybold: We met on an airplane believe it or not a long time ago. I am an engineer by training. And I was working in a lot of scene matching technology. And Clara was running a pigmental legion clinic and talking about her struggles with trying to compare images over time. So we originally started in change detection. After some years of working on that and we got a science foundation Arizona grant, they were a big supporter of this technology, we really realized we can work on change detection, but you have to have a data base of images in order to do change detection.
Ted Simons: Did you have challenges in the early going?
Clara Curiel: Yes, and the challenges are exactly what we are trying to solve today, which is adoption of imaging. We have made a huge progress in change detection, that is the easy part, but you need to have images standardized at a point in time, so you can put them together. And the assistant, that is what we're envisioning, that's where we're going is to automated change detection, so to be a help and aid to the physician. This area changed by this rate over this period of time. So it would be even more objective than what it is now.
Ted Simons: So what are you getting as far as a reaction from the medical community?
Clara Curiel: It is interesting because -- it makes sense to everyone, but when you are not used to it, it's that paradigm. We need to shift the way we practice, like radiology at the time of fluoroscopy. They didn't have heart (inaudible). They just look at the x-ray, what was projecting, and then documented it. Now radiology (inaudible) that is the way of practice. That is what we are moving into. That is what we really see the future, is becoming an image-centered documentation, the new way of practicing skincare.
Ted Simons: And last question, how do you get into that future? What is the next step here?
Karleen Seybold: So we are doing the beta testing here in the Phoenix area at the Scottsdale Health Care Center is one of our sites. We are continuing to deploy BETA testing and getting feedback from both physicians and patients. And so far the patients' response is overwhelmingly positive. They love it and they have very high confidence in having imaging taken and stored. So we are continuing the BETA testing and moving into manufacturing in Arizona.
Ted Simons: Well, very good. That confidence is very important. Good to have good both. Congratulations on your success.
Karleen Seybold: Thank you.
Carla Curiel: Thank you.
Karleen Seybold:Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, DermSpectra; Clara Curiel, M.D.:Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer, DermSpectra;