Zoë Callister-Hakewill

INCUBATE, University of Sydney Union, Sydney, NSW, Australia

Abstract: DetectED-X, a Sydney-based medical imaging start-up, has developed an online learning platform to improve the clinical diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. The company today is an international leader in medical imaging education, training, and assessment.

Keywords: DetectED-X, 3D printing, quality assurance

1. The success story—DetectED-X

Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death in females worldwide. Early diagnosis and treatment are primarily associated with good prognosis and improved long-term remissions. Some of the key challenges in breast cancer screening are not rooted in the lack of technological advancement for detecting breast cancers but in the healthcare system’s operational overload. The online learning platform engineered by DetectED-X, Rivelato, has been developed to provide uniformity in radiological training and optimised to facilitate clinical decision making. In the last year, DetectED-X has been embraced by the international community (validated in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Middle East, US, and Europe) for its evidence-based approach for improving the clinical diagnosis of breast cancer.

2. Where did it start and the motivation?

Collaborating on DetectED-X, Dr Suleiman, Professor Brennan, and Professor Rickard combined their specialist skills to develop a novel educational approach after identifying two key challenges in breast cancer screening. First, it was observed that radiologists reading for breast cancer screening encounter a relatively low number of cancer cases. This was attributed to the low prevalence of breast cancer. Second, radiologists have varying clinical experience, which means that they tend to approach breast cancer detection differently and often do not receive timely feedback.

Figure 1. Photograph of Professor Patrick Brennan (CEO, Co-Founder) and Dr Moe Suleiman (CTO, Co-Founder) at RSNA 2019, USA launch.

3. The journey so far

The initial research platform relied on grant funding and was limited to Australian radiologists. In 2019, the platform was widely adopted in Australia, giving the team enough support to commercialise its product and aim for international expansion. DetectED-X ultimately aims to create a paradigm shift in cancer detection globally, especially in developing countries, where this type of education is lacking.

DetectED-X joined the INCUBATE program in 2019, transforming its platform into a legitimate business venture. “[INCUBATE] guided us through the process step by step, everything we needed to know was answered by experts and entrepreneurs who have gone through the process and were very successful,” says Dr Suleiman, “I think that the support that INCUBATE provides to start-ups is essential and life-changing”.

Since mid-2019, DetectED-X has seen widespread international adoption. Highlights include CPD point accreditation in both Australia and New Zealand, in addition to CME point accreditation within the US. DetectED-X has also secured contracts with the Department of Health in New Zealand and Slovenia. The company is currently in advanced discussions with multiple hospitals and imaging clinics throughout the US. In addition, the team is also in the process of finalising a distribution agreement with an international vendor for imaging software.

When the World Health Organisation called for solidarity in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DetectED-x team quickly adapted their platform to help educate clinicians to identify the appearances of COVID-19 on CT scans, “we made it available free of charge to all clinicians around the world, CovED was truly a multi-national multi-disciplinary consortium of collaboration in the face of a global pandemic.”

Figure 2. Photograph of CovED software platform – CovED is a browser-based application, allowing clinicians to improve detection performance remotely from a Mac or PC. Clinicians have access to a database of lung CT scans which may be used as a training tool to accurately diagnose cases faster COVID-19 cases more rapidly.

4. Look into the future

Despite much success, Dr Suleiman laments on the challenges of balancing family life and getting a small start-up off the ground “it was time-consuming learning and trying to work out the ins and outs of the business. Some days I worked around the clock with little sleep”. Hurdles faced along the way, including “navigating IP issues took some time, trying to convert interest into paying customers as well as securing customers instead of research collaborations,” became pivotal points for re-engagement with the company’s purpose of improving patient outcomes. With many accomplishments to date, the future looks bright for DetectED-X; the company is rapidly becoming recognised as an innovative international leader in medical imaging education, training, assessment, and research. Dr Suleiman remains humble but optimistic about the future, “I think success is an elusive term we always aim for more”.

The company



DetectED-x Pty Ltd
Sydney
NSW 2008
Australia
https://detectedx.com

References

[1] Akram M., Iqbal M., Daniyal M., Khan AU., Awareness and current knowledge of breast cancer. Biol Res. 2017, 50(1): 33.


Zoë Callister-Hakewill is General Manager of Dr’s On Call, a mobile medical practice that supports the needs of vulnerable populations across metropolitan Sydney, Western suburbs, Northern Beaches, Northern Suburbs, Eastern suburbs, Central Coast/Newcastle/Hunter region and regional NSW. Zoë oversees the digital transformation of the practice, and led the development of digital health policies and training to support a team of medical professionals to deliver quality clinical care through digital health.

Zoë has expertise in the fields of medical science, public health, health law and ethics. She holds a Bachelor of Medical Science, a Masters of International Public Health, and a Masters of Health Law from the University of Sydney, and is completing a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) at Macquarie University. At the Macquarie University Department of Cognitive Science, she is part of a research group using mobile EEG technology to investigate brain health. She recently attained an Executive Ready scholarship with Women in Leadership Australia and has just commenced studying an MBA with Deakin University.

Zoë is currently the host of a new Southern Cross Austereo Medtech Podcast called Beyond the Medicine Cabinet. The purpose of the Beyond the Medicine Cabinet podcast is to showcase innovation in medical technologies and the lives that have been impacted as a result.  In illustrating this, the podcast highlights the role that technology is playing in transforming health and medicine globally, with real-world examples of the lives that is changing. As an advocate for health literacy, Zoë seeks to empower individualised healthcare decision making, by ensuring that the tone of the podcast strikes the perfect balance between scientific merit, practicality and impact to increase accessibility for the layman person.

As Australian Editor of the Innovation & Impact Scientific Technology and Business Journal, she is able to source, write, collaborate, observe and publish on the interdisciplinary nature of how scientific technology founded in research, articulates with business through a collection of high profile invited papers, case studies and technology profiles within the Australian entrepreneurial landscape.