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Bulgarian Healthcare Innovation Startup Wins Roche’s HealthCare Lab Challenge

A Bulgarian healthcare innovation startup, Kelvin Health, won Roche’s HealthCare Lab challenge in the Screening and Early Diagnostics track earlier in April. Kelvin Health’s winning project is a thermography AI tool for an easy diagnosis that can prevent deaths and suffering from conditions like limb ischemia and breast cancer.
It uses a mobile thermal imaging camera that captures the heat of the body, segments the thermal image, and applies artificial intelligence to detect anomalies related to vascular conditions, as well as inflammatory and oncological diseases. The thermal camera can capture the heat of the body even under layers of body tissue.
To explain the significance of their project, the Kelvin Health team says that more than 202 million people worldwide suffer from peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and more than 40% of them are asymptomatic. The hard access to frequent screening and monitoring leads to complications, such as critical limb ischemia (CLI), that have very negative prognosis including major amputation or even death.
Kelvin Health aims to be an accessible diagnostic solution, ”the modern thermometer”, as simple as your family doctor or even family member taking a thermal image of you with a portable thermal camera. It causes minimal physical, logistical and financial discomfort.
The team has implemented the software backbone, the machine learning toolchain and a mobile app for research data collection. They are already collaborating in this data collection and research process with multiple hospitals and pharma companies across Europe, including one of the leading cardiology clinics in South East Europe – City Clinic, University Clinical Centre Maribor, Novartis Oncology and Roche. “The current focus is extending the research and development collaborations with hospitals and getting regulatory approvals,” Pavel Andreev, chief product officer at Kelvin Health, told BTA.