Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, largely due to the country's high levels of ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before turning 70, which is why skin cancer research is so crucial for early detection to improve the outcome for patients.
Dr Syed Naqvi from The University of Queensland is an Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship recipient and is working on developing skin cancer detection using sensors across the microwave and millimetre-wave spectrum.
The project aims to develop a new tool for classifying skin cancer that is non-invasive, data-driven, and automated, using an electromagnetic probe. The timely detection of cancerous lesions will enable suitable treatment and safe removal of tumours at an early stage.
Advance Queensland’s Industry Research Fellowship supports researchers in carrying out studies that benefit Queensland, and Dr Naqvi’s research is a good example of this. Dr Naqvi received $240,000 in funding research over three years to deliver an automated electromagnetic probe for artificial intelligence (AI) driven skin cancer detection.
Can you provide a short overview of your research project?
I started working on the development of an Electromagnetic Skin Cancer Detection System in 2016. At that time, limited literature was available on the topic for research conducted across the microwave and millimetre-wave spectrum. However, after several years of research involving measurements of cancerous dermal tissues and sensor development, we now believe that our preliminary groundwork can lead to the development of an AI-based portable, low-cost skin cancer detection system. The proposed system will be a diagnostic aid for dermatologists to separate benign from malignant lesions.
Who are you partnering with and why?
The key partner I am collaborating with on this research project is Logan Skin Clinic. The clinic’s Practice Principal Dr Damien Foong has a strong foundation in dermatology, particularly in skin cancer treatment, and has been collaborating with our Electromagnetic Innovations Group for several years. The clinic has been very supportive with this research project and has provided a dedicated room for the skin cancer tissue procedures.
Working and collaborating with this clinic will assist in acquiring extensive dielectric data on both benign and malignant skin cancer lesions, which is vital to the development of a robust skin cancer detection system.
How will the funding support you on your research journey?
The funding from Advance Queensland will strengthen my research to develop accurate skin cancer diagnostic aid for dermatologists.
The previous work conducted on skin cancer tissue characterisation has demonstrated encouraging results, and this funding will allow me to explore new AI-based techniques to enable me to work towards the primary research goal.
What are you wanting to achieve in your research?
My research goal is to develop a system that can accurately identify the presence of dermal malignancies across different regions in the body. Ultimately, this aim of this research is to acquire and analyse a statistically significant dielectric dataset of benign and malignant skin cancer lesions using AI based techniques.
How will your research benefit and assist Queenslanders?
This research project is necessary to develop a device that can overcome the current diagnostic limitations by combining innovative technology and clinical observations.
The result of using cutting-edge technology and AI algorithms, will ensure timely skin cancer identification and will contribute to the digital health transition by leveraging the power of data to improve healthcare outcomes. This is in line with the Digital Health Strategic Vision for Queensland 2026 (PDF, 5.3MB), which aims to enable Queensland Health to be lead in health innovation and improve health outcomes for all Queenslanders.
What does it mean to you to be a recipient of the 2022 Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowships program?
It is a great honour and an incredible boost to my career to be a recipient of the Advance Queensland Industry Research Fellowship. The fellowship motivates me to continue research in the direction that can significantly improve skin cancer treatment.