Transforming the Way We Diagnose Disease: Interview with DetectED-X

In our new series celebrating local businesses, we’ll interview founders and business owners to learn about their business and also what makes them tick. Every business’s story is different – as are their goals and plans for the future. We’ll delve into the story of how the business came about – from it’s humble beginnings to today. Today we’re talking to Patrick Brennan PhD, the founder of DetectED-X. As a professor at the University of Sydney, Patrick realised technology could transform the way doctors diagnose diseases and save many lives through early detection of diseases.

Revolutionising diagnostic imaging for clinicians everywhere

Patrick Brennan has spent decades dedicating his life to improving the outcomes for people diagnosed with serious illnesses such as breast and lung cancer. As the world’s highest-ranked researcher in Medical Radiation Sciences, his mission has been to make his cutting-edge methods available all over the world. 150 countries around the world now use DetectED-X and it remains at the forefront of medical innovation.

Interview with Professor Patrick Brennan

1. To start, tell us a bit about what your business does

DetectED-X was co-founded in 2019 by myself, Professor Mary Rickard and Dr. Moe Suleiman. It aims to transform how illnesses such as breast and lung cancer are diagnosed. We do this through a combination of technology and education.

2. Why did you start DetectED-X?

I’m a professor at the University of Sydney and part of my role involves research which looks at methods for diagnosing disease. I’ve been focusing on improving the methods of detecting illnesses, so patients can be diagnosed earlier and increase their chances of recovery. Over the years, we were able to develop and test the software which underpins DetectED-X. I did this by consulting with both clinicians and developers.

3. What are some of your key milestones and successes?

Our biggest success has been making a tool that clinicians can use anywhere in the world. We wanted to make something that gives clinicians everywhere the ability to diagnose and detect disease. We’ve also been able to work collaboratively with companies such as GE Health and Siemens. We know that the patients who receive a diagnosis using our tools get better (and survive) due to early detection. Last year, we spent 5 weeks developing a comprehensive COVID-19 diagnosis tool. This tool compares human lungs which do and do not have the virus, making COVID-19 easier to spot and detect early on.

4. Who inspires you?

I’m inspired by many world leaders and how they’ve responded to one of the biggest health crises of the past century. The way the medical community rallied to research, develop and distribute COVID-19 vaccines has been extremely inspiring. Jacinda Adern has also shown time and time again that being an effective leader requires practicality but also compassion. She’s also testament to the fact that women can be just as good as men in any field. My colleague, Dr Mary Rickard is also very inspiring, as she was at the helm of one of the first breast cancer screening programs in Australia in the 1990s.

5. Finally, what are your plans for the future?

We’re increasing our work with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and plan to implement this in diagnosing disease through images. We also want to continue distributing our software throughout the world, and especially in countries where medical equipment can be in short supply. We’re looking at lending out our machines as well and have a prototype out sometime this year.

Lessons for new businesses

DetectED-X may be a relatively young company, but it’s impact has certainly been felt. By developing tools which make a big difference in human health and livelihood, DetectED-X has left its mark. As DetectED-X also shows, being adaptable to changing circumstances will not only allow your business to weather any storm, but will also increase it’s value to customers everywhere.

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