App spots pancreatic cancer from the whites of the human eyes


Pancreatic cancer is one of the diseases that pose a high risk of death, with just about nine percent of survival rate in the last five years. One of the causes of the increased mortality rate is that the patient begins to experience symptoms of the disease when it too advanced. However, scientists at the University of Washington have showcased an easy way o test for cancer in a self-administered manner.


The research team developed Biliscreen, an app that detects the extents of the Whites’ chemical bilirubin in a person’s eyes. The app works with a smartphone’s camera and computer vision algorithms.

When there is pancreatic cancer, the bilirubin levels begin to increase and suddenly turn the whites of the human eyes to yellow – this is also similar with hepatitis. The cancer is much developed when the whites turn to yellow.

The new app, Biliscreen can detect very minute levels of bilirubin and give users the assessment to determine if their levels are high enough mean possible disease. This test is way cheaper and easier compared to the blood test, which is the common test for cancer and can be performed even before the manifestation of any symptom.

According to a researcher on the study, Jim Taylor, pancreatic cancer is a deadly disease with no effective screen at the moment. He added that his research team aims at having many people who have pancreatic cancer to catch it in time and possibly go for surgery that increases their chances of survival.

The Biliscreen can account for lighting. It can be used with paper glasses or a special box that blocks ambient light around the edges that the app is calibrated to. During the study, it was discovered that the app was about 90 percent as ideal as the blood test in finding levels of bilirubin in a small a little clinical research.

The scientists are working to ensure the app works without accessories and will launch their jobs at Ubicomp 2017 next month.