Mole Mapper can accurately measure and monitor moles, and contribute photos of how their potential trouble spots evolve over time. In addition to providing a more accurate method for tracking, the app gives individuals the opportunity to contribute to a melanoma research initiative.
The data collected will help inform research into the types of changes in skin that are the most meaningful in detecting lethal forms of the disease.
The free app can be downloaded from the App Store and was developed using ResearchKit, an open source framework developed by Apple. Sage Bionetworks, a nonprofit research institute whose efforts are aimed at leveraging the power of science to solve complex scientific problems, is a key partner.
Scientists at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in Portland plan to accelerate an interactive, grassroots-style public health initiative using the new app to equip individuals en masse to use their iPhone cameras to chronicle subtle changes in spots on their skin, and share that data.
App users can maintain their images exclusively on their phones for later sharing with a dermatologist; or, after signing an electronic consent form, they can enroll in the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Melanoma Community Registry.
Since its launch in 2014, the registry comprises more than 3,600 melanoma survivors, family members, and friends. The goal is that this number reaches into the tens of thousands.