The research involving artificial intelligence that can detect cancerous Tasmanian Devils in their natural habitat has garnered significant attention in Australia and New Zealand.
The Tasmanian Devils, known for being highly aggressive creatures, face cancer as one of the most significant risks threatening their population. These carnivorous marsupials, residing exclusively on Tasmania Island in southeastern Australia, can be protected against the cancer that jeopardizes their species through an international project involving researchers from Near East University.
Determining whether the wounds on their faces are caused by natural factors or cancer is of vital importance. The project led by researchers from Near East University utilizes artificial intelligence-supported analysis of camera footage to identify cancerous Tasmanian Devils.
The algorithm, developed by Assistant Professor Dr. Fatih Veysel Nurçin, Dr. Niyazi Şentürk from the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, and Assistant Professor Dr. Elbrus Imanov from the Department of Computer Engineering at Near East University, can detect Tasmanian Devils affected by skin cancer by analyzing camera footage. Ecologist Karen Fagg and wildlife biologist Sam Thalmann, both involved in the “Save the Tasmanian Devil” program, also support the project.
Cancer is threatening the Tasmanian Devils
In recent years, an endemic type of cancer known as Devil Facial Tumor Disease (DFTD) has been increasingly observed in Tasmanian Devils, posing a threat to their lives in their limited natural habitat of Tasmania. This cancer primarily affects the face, mouth, and neck regions of the Tasmanian Devils and easily spreads through biting. First identified in 1996, this disease can lead to the death of Tasmanian Devils within approximately six months.
Dr. Fatih Veysel Nurçin, an assistant professor from the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering at Near East University and one of the researchers involved in the project, emphasizes that their artificial intelligence-supported project is not only capable of rapidly detecting cancerous Tasmanian Devils but also contributes significantly to understanding how this disease spreads in the wild. This project marks a milestone in research efforts to combat the disease and protect the Tasmanian Devil population.
The study has made a significant impact in Australia, garnering widespread attention.
The study, which uses AI-supported cameras to detect cancer in Tasmanian Devils, has also generated significant attention in Australia and New Zealand. The research was published in Scimex, a prominent scientific publication in both countries, and received great interest from scientists working in the region. Additionally, the study was featured in Cosmos Magazine, known for its coverage of scientific news. The researchers’ work detailing the study’s findings was published in a scientific article by Csiro Publishing, one of Australia’s most important scientific publications.