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iToBoS 1st anniversary

EU-funded project aims to create a holistic diagnostic and assessment tool for early detection of melanoma

iToBoS is a research project funded by European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Its aim is to build a new diagnostic a tool for the early detection of melanoma. A holistic assessment based on a comprehensive set of patient characteristics is expected to lead to the personalized, early detection of melanoma. With a launch on April 1st 2021, the project has just celebrated its first anniversary; its overall duration is 48 months (1 April 2021-31 March 2025) and its total Budget 12 million Euro. to the project website

MPNE, the Melanoma Patient Network Europe, is one of 19 consortium partners and responsible for the work package of patient involvement, including a final impact assessment of the process at the end of the project.

The increasing burden of Melanoma: more new cases, more deaths.

iToBoS first anniversary coincides with a report of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, IARC, that predicts that the number of new cases of cutaneous melanoma per year will increase by more than 50% and the number of death from Melanoma by 68% from 2020 to 2040. to the article

Highest incidences in Australia and Europe: iToBoS, a European- Australian collaboration

People with caucasian skin types are at particular risk for Melanoma. According to the IARC report, the highest incidence rates for Melanoma per 100 000 were observed in Australia and New Zealand (42 in men and 31 in women), followed by Western Europe (19 in both men and women), Northern America (18 in men and 14 in women), and Northern Europe (17 in men and 18 in women). Melanoma continues to be rare in most countries in Africa and Asia, where incidence rates are commonly below 1 per 100 000. to the IARC resources

In line with its particular importance to Australian and European societies, iToBoS consortium therefore also includes the University of Queensland that has received funding from the Australia's NHMRC under grant number APP2007014.

Early Melanoma detection is key to reduce deaths from skin cancers.

Skin cancers are the most common human malignancy and their incidence has been increasing in the last decade. 1 out of 5 skin cancers is Melanoma, the most dangerous form or skin cancer cause of most skin cancer- related deaths.

Survival is in Melanoma is critically dependent on the stage of the disease: When detected early, most patients can be cured by surgery alone. When detected late, only 1 out of 2 patients will be alive 5 years after diagnosis provided access to new Melanoma therapies. Without access to new treatments, only 1 out of 10- 20 patients will be alive after that time (REF). For this reason, strategies to prevent and to detect Melanoma as early as possible are essential to reduce the number of deaths from the disease.

´Effective early detection is becoming more important than ever. Our work in Romania has shown that during the COVID pandemic, patients delayed seeking care, including for the diagnosis of Melanoma- and that where we already know that in CEE, Melanomas tend to be detected at a later stage, with worse outcomes for patients '

says Violeta Astratinei, founder of Melanom Romania, MPNEcore member and iToBoS project partner. more about the Romanian study

iToBoS will develop and validate a new diagnostic device together with an AI cognitive assistant (tool) to empower healthcare practitioners to make comprehensive patient-tailored diagnosis of skin cancer. The goal is to improve detection rates and accuracy. This new diagnostic tool will utilise the most recent advances in AI to integrate data already obtainable by present-day technologies- such as dermoscopic images- with data acquired using the novel hardware to be built in iToBoS. The underlying algorithms will integrate additional patient information from various sources (such as personal characteristics, patient medical history, genomics, anatomical location of a naevus) to provide a holistic assessment of individual moles in the specific context of each patient. With systematic successive explorations of a patient, the system will be able to also robustly determine the changes occurring in the individual moles, a key feature held as one of the most informative in the detection of skin cancer. The goal is to diagnose Melanoma earlier and with higher accuracy, increasing the effectiveness of clinical decision making and ultimately, patient outcomes.

'We are particularly excited that iToBoS will also organise a hackathon so that others can work on the data generated in the project. AI can only be as good as the data sets it works on. As patient community, numerous proprietary data sets each of limited size and incompatible with each other are a worrisome development. We need novel ways to enable learning from large datasets that at the same time protect the privacy of the patient. It cannot be learning OR privacy, it has to be learning AND privacy' says Bettina Ryll, founder of MPNE and iToBoS project partner.

Within the iToBoS project, MPNE is responsible for the work package on patient involvement.

'We are building on our learnings from previous H2020 projects....(UMCURE2020, Share4Rare)...and are turning this now into methodology and tools. Right now, we are e.g. adapting a rapid impact assessment model from Humanitarian Aid to assess how the involvement of patients impacts the iToBoS project. It will also be great to see an iToBoS version of our patient partnerships in research canvas, we have seen that Design Thinking can really facilitate the dialogue between different parties- and everyone is better off in the end!' says Gilly Spurrier, founder of Melanome France, MPNE core member and iToBoS project partner. more about the research partnerships canvas

MPNE is delighted to be part of a consortium determined to improve the early detection of Melanoma, to see one of the problems that particularly burden the Melanoma patient community addressed.

The iToBoS consortium

The consortium with 19 partners is led by the University of Girona (Spain) and brings together leading research/ academic institutions (5 research centres), industries (4 companies and 6 SMEs) and end-users entities (3 hospitals and 1 patient organisation): University of Girona (Spain), Optotune Switzerland AG (Switzerland), IBM Israel-Science and technology Ltd (Israel), Robert Bosch España Fábrica Madrid SA (Spain), Barco NV (Belgium), National Technical University of Athens-NTUA (Greece), Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Universitaet Hannover (Germany), Fundació Clinic per a la Recerca Biomédica (Spain), Ricoh Spain IT Services SLU (Spain), Trilateral Research Limited (Ireland) Universita degli Studi di Trieste (Italy), Coronis Computing SL (Spain), Torus Actions (FR), V7 LTD (United Kingdom), ISAHIT (France), The University of Queensland (Australia), Szamitastechnikai es Automatizalasi Kutatointezet (Hungary), Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Foerderung der Angewandten Forschung E.V. (Germany), Melanoma Patient Network Europe (Sweden).

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 965221.

Further information


Project website

Latest project newsletter


IARC resources about Melanoma

Melanoma Patient Network Europe

MPNE, the Melanoma Patient Network Europe, is a network system of Melanoma patients and family members that uses a mission-driven approach to systematically tackle the problems of the Melanoma community.


iToBoS consortium

Prof. Rafael García General Coordinator iToBoS University of Girona VICOROB - Computer Vision and Robotics Institute Mail:

Maria Machado Project Manager iToBoS University of Girona VICOROB - Computer Vision and Robotics Institute Mail:

Melanoma Patient Network Europe

Dr. Bettina Ryll


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