Home » Blog » Bulgarian Team Fighting Breast Cancer Won in the Global Initiative Breaking Barriers Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) Challenge by Novartis Oncology
We are thrilled to announce we are joining forces with Novartis Oncology, Novartis Bulgaria and MORE-Darzalas Foundation to build a digital health solution for early detection of breast cancer through AI analysis of thermal images. The joint Bulgarian team was recently recognized as one of the six winners at the Global Initiative of Novartis Oncology “Breaking Barriers Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) Challenge”.
Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women worldwide and the second one overall, with 2 088 849 cases confirmed in year 2018. It is also the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. Identifying breast cancer at an early stage before metastasis enables more effective treatments and therefore significantly improves survival rates. That’s why our team is working relentlessly to make breast cancer deaths a thing of the past.
“Breaking Barriers Health Systems Strengthening (HSS) Challenge” is an initiative of Novartis Oncology, and has been created to discover opportunities to break barriers to awareness, diagnosis, treatment, and adherence on behalf of oncology patients. Collaboration with governments and other partners to support quality patient care in areas of greatest impact is the main objective of the program. Out of 81 proposals from 45 countries, our Bulgarian team won together with the teams representing Ireland, India, Portugal, Chile, and Canada.
Although mammography is the most widely used imaging technique for early detection of breast cancer, it is not always available in low-resource settings. Its sensitivity also drops for women with dense breast tissue.
The proposed solution for early detection of breast cancer through AI analysis of thermal images is directly targeted at one of the key impact indicators of Novartis’ health system strengthening framework – increased patient screening and timely diagnosis rates. Kelvin Health’s role in the project is to further develop the machine learning models applied to thermal images of problematic areas of the breast where malignant tumors might be spotted. This allows us to further enhance the abilities of our novel widely applicable and accessible technique to screen and monitor women with newly diagnosed breast cancer.
Novartis Bulgaria and Kelvin Health are members of the Digital Health and Innovation Cluster Bulgaria.