British firm, Moletest (Scotland), is offering primary care professionals the opportunity to substantially reduce the number of unnecessary dermatology referrals to secondary care by over 50% with nomela, a professional medical rule-out screening test for skin lesions suspected of melanoma.
The nomela test has been developed to assist the process of screening out melanoma, fulfilling an unmet need and reducing the burden on the healthcare system.
GPs and other primary care professionals will be able to use a dedicated and secure nomela iPad to take high quality accurate images of the suspect skin lesion, which are analysed against five algorithms to provide an instant result, either “No evidence of melanoma” or “Melanoma not excluded”.
Joe Ferreira, marketing director at Moletest (Scotland) said: “We are the only company to have developed a rule out test for melanoma. We have serious ambitions, especially in the current healthcare environment, where technology is king and there is a real need to provide innovative solutions that are sustainable and efficient. Following previous trials with NHS Lanarkshire, our latest trial with Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, aims to further confirm the accuracy of nomela, which, as a test specifically for healthcare professional use, will fundamentally improve the patient pathway in dermatology care and provide substantial cost savings to health services.”
Clinical studies with nomela, in conjunction with NHS Lanarkshire, are due to be published by the British Association of Dermatologists Annual Meeting in September 2020. These show that, with ranges set by nomela at 100% sensitivity for melanoma, 53% of non-melanoma lesions may be assessed as “no evidence of melanoma.” By extrapolation, if used by a GP, nomela could therefore reduce the number of unnecessary dermatology referrals by more than 50%, potentially saving the NHS £125 million per annum.
The company has now restarted its clinical trial with Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, which along with other trials was suspended by the National Institute for Health Research in March due to the COVID-19 crisis, aiming to further demonstrate the sensitivity and performance of nomela.
Most skin lesions are benign but some may be a melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer. Medical advice is that anyone who is concerned about a mole, especially if it is new or changing in size, shape, or colour, should visit a GP to have it examined.
If the GP is uncertain or suspects melanoma, then urgent referral to a dermatologist within 14 days for further assessment is mandatory, though some 97% of such moles are found to be benign. If the dermatologist or plastic surgeon remains concerned then a biopsy (removal of some or all of the affected skin) is recommended.
Bruce Murray, technical director at Moletest (Scotland) said: “It is a challenge to identify which skin lesions are melanoma, whether by inspection with the naked eye or using technological advances, such as the dermatoscope. Our rule-out technology will help to identify which skin lesions do not require further investigation. nomela uses the iPad Pro as a medical grade device which is centrally controlled so that it can be configured for each user and its operating system and software automatically updated following performance testing. The quality of its camera and screen ensure a clear close-up image with detailed edge detection. Our technical approach is to control all variable factors, including the type of device used to ensure reliable results. nomela can deliver true innovation within this market, demonstrating the three dimensions of value that are critical in healthcare, including clinical benefit, patient quality of life and economic value.”