ACEMID

ACRF Australian Centre of Excellence in
Melanoma Imaging and Diagnosis (ACEMID)

An Australian Cancer Research Foundation Flagship Centre

Working towards zero deaths from melanoma

Welcome to the Victorian hub of the Australian Centre of Excellence in Melanoma Imaging and Diagnosis (ACEMID), a national network of cutting-edge imaging technology created to advance the detection and management of melanoma.

Australia has the world’s highest rate of melanoma, with 1,700 Australians dying of the condition each year. No standardised diagnosis pathway exists, and treatment costs in Australia exceed AUD $1 billion per year.

The ACEMID infrastructure comprises 15 Vectra 3D whole body scanners, valued at AU$10 million and funded by generous donations via the Australian Cancer Research Foundation. The ACEMID project is led at a national level by the University of Queensland, with Victorian sites managed by Monash University and New South Wales sites managed by the University of Sydney.

The first Victorian site is at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. Other sites include Skin Health Institute, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Bendigo Health and Bass Coast Hospital Wonthaggi

The sites will serve as hubs for clinical research projects that will transform melanoma outcomes through earlier detection, standardisation of diagnosis, and equitable access for regional Australians.

Harnessing cutting edge technology

The whole-body scanning machines will allow for objective, secure collection of skin photography in milliseconds. Avatars generated by the imaging software will enable systemized and incredibly detailed documentation of skin surfaces (except soles of feet, scalp and areas covered by clothing). Follow-up photography at 6-12 monthly intervals will allow for the detection of new or changing lesions.

Together, team members will develop Artificial Intelligence technology that will analyse these high-quality images and allow rapid, highly accurate and cost-effective screening for melanoma.

This disruptive technology will enable teledermatology with regional health services, providing rural Australians with a locally accessible early melanoma detection and surveillance program.

A/Prof Victoria MarKey Monash Investigators

Interested in pursuing a research degree as part of the ACEMID team? Contact us at acemid@monash.edu

Our research

Monash University currently runs two clinical trials utilizing the ACEMID platform:

1. The ACEMID Cohort Study

Led by A/Prof Victoria Mar and funded via the National Health and Medical Research Council, this $3.2 million project will recruit 15,000 Australian adults across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland. The project aims to deliver a risk-stratified imaging-based approach to melanoma prevention, early detection and surveillance, by undertaking four tasks:

  • Evaluate the reliability and accuracy of existing tools that estimate a person’s risk of melanoma, and incorporate automated assessments of the new 3D total body images into those tools. This will help us better assign people to surveillance programs that match their risk.
  • Identify factors that lead variable diagnoses for the same or similar conditions, and better understand the impacts of those differences on treatment decisions and outcomes. We will subsequently develop and test AI algorithms to assist and standardize the diagnosis, prognosis and treatment processes for skin cancers.
  • Identify barriers and enablers to the successful roll-out of 3D imaging and AI-based technologies into health systems, including acceptability to patients and clinicians, and ease-of-use.
  • Analyse costs of incorporating these images and algorithms into melanoma prevention and surveillance programs at a national level, and assess the impact of that on existing preventive behaviours, quality-of-life and health budgets.

Project status: ACCEPTING EXPRESSIONS OF INTEREST

COVID permitting, we anticipate that imaging will commence before the end of 2021 at Alfred Health and the Skin Health Institute, and early next year for the remaining sites.

Submit your EOI now Contact acemid@monash.edu

2. Melanoma surveillance photography to improve early detection in high-risk individuals (IMAGE) Trial

Led by A/Prof Victoria Mar, this Medical Research Future Fund project is administered in conjunction with our colleagues at the Melanoma And Skin Cancer (MASC) Trials.

Melanoma Surveillance Photography (MSP) is a comprehensive skin surveillance method, but it lacks evidence that shows it directly improves outcomes from melanoma, and is currently not used in routine standard care. The IMAGE trial aims to provide that evidence, allowing Australia’s Medical Services Advisory Committee to make recommendations around Medicare funding for MSP in future.

Project status: RECRUITING NOW

Visit masc.org.au/image for details

ACEMID in the news

Monash University and Alfred Health take part in world-first approach to improve melanoma outcomes using 3D whole body imaging
Monash News, 13 September 2021

Over $17m secured in clinical trials cohort studies grant scheme
Monash News, 24 June 2021

Melanoma breakthrough – 3D scans offer hope in the fight against skin cancers
Sunrise (Ch 7), 21 June 2021

Skin scanner to transform skin cancer diagnoses
7 Nightly News, 20 June 2021

3D skin scans hold hope of early melanoma detection
4BC radio, 21 June 2021

How 3D skin scans could save lives
Herald Sun, 20 June 2021

National ACEMID Platform

The research and clinical strength underpinning the national ACRF ACEMID initiative includes three complementary NHMRC-funded Centres of Research Excellence (CRE):

  1. CRE the Study of Naevi – led by Professor Peter Soyer, University of Queensland
  2. CRE in Melanoma – led by Professor Anne Cust, University of Sydney
  3. CRE in Telemedicine – led by Professor Len Gray, University of Queensland

The ACEMID Cohort Study will also benefit from three complementary collaborative projects involving our University partners, funded by the Australian Data Research Commons:

  1. Environments to Accelerate Machine Learning-based Discovery (Lead node: Monash University)
  2. The Australian Imaging Service (Lead node: University of Sydney)
  3. The Australian Characterisation Commons at Scale (Lead node: Monash University)

View the ACEMID research structure here.

Access the National ACEMID site here.

Read about National and Queensland State ACEMID Project lead Prof. H Peter Soyer here.