The firm worked with Preferred Networks (PFN) to apply Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, such as machine learning and deep learning, with the data obtained from the sebum RNA.
PFN’s AI tech will then utilise the informing gathered by Kao’s sebum RNA monitoring technology to develop a “highly sophisticated prediction algorithm”.
This will enable Kao to gain a better understanding of the skin’s internal condition and will allow it to assess future risks of skin damage.
Kao believes this will eventually allow them to personalise skin care product and beauty advice based on genetic information.
“We have high expectations that collaborating with PFN will greatly improve the accuracy and speed thanks to PFN's considerable experience with the utilization of AI technologies in the bio-healthcare field,” said Kao Corporation President and CEO, Michitaka Sawada.
Kao will roll out selected features in 2020 on a trial basis to gather user feedback and improve the service further.
The Kao X PFN Sebum RNA Project was conceived as a way to utilise its previous research on RNA, which led its researchers to develop a non-invasive method of measuring human RNA.
“Kao aimed to provide a practical method to accurately monitor biological information by applying our sebum RNA monitoring technology,” said Sawada.
Kao researchers found they were able to extract RNA by taking a sebum sample with oil blotting film. Previously, analysing RNA expression in the skin would require a highly invasive biopsy of the skin.
The research claimed that the new method was capable of analysing up to 10,000 molecules of human RNA.
For this project, Kao said it will collect approximately 13,000 types of RNA per person to measure RNA expression levels with its RNA monitoring technology.
PFN will then use the data to build a prediction model that it claimed will be able to infer the skin conditions and biologic factors within the body.
Possibilities beyond beauty
Moving forward, Sawada said the firms had ambitions to expand the research into the medical field.
PFN has previous experience in the bio-healthcare field and has worked with National Cancer Center of Japan to develop a technology to diagnose of cancer early by observing microRNA in the blood.
One possible area of research the company may jointly work on will be on for improving early diagnosis of intractable diseases, such as Parkinson's disease, which are increasing in ageing countries like Japan.
“Kao is focusing on social innovations that contribute to improved QOL under an ESG-driven management strategy. This project is part of that initiative, and we will contribute to the future society in collaboration with PFN,” he said.