The 4th of February is regarded as World Cancer Day, in light of which we tread on a few startups that are working to fight this horrific disease. An appalling figure of 22.5 lakhs cancer patients was recorded in 2018 by the National Insititute of Cancer Prevention and Research. Abnormal growth of cells in tissues or organs of a person is what causes cancer and for India, there are more than 11 lakh people that are detected with cancer every year.
While one cannot say that India is fully equipped with treatments for cancer, it can definitely be acknowledged how far we have come in the past decade.
Apart from big research organizations and medical companies, there has been a genuine effort put in by Indian startups in battling cancer.
Here are 5 startups that are trying to speed the early diagnosis of cancer:
One thing identified by onward health was that there are many scanning devices but not enough pathologists to draw insights from the information. They have built a computer vision-based tool that provides analysis and insights from samples that are available. To complement this they have also developed a histopathology tool that can process 2 times more samples with the same resources.
Another effort by them has been towards detecting the suspicious masses and calcifications. With the help of a machine learning tool, they are able to locate these suspicious developments and also understand if they are harmful or not.
A Meditech firm that aims at developing technology that is able to detect early and precancerous cells at an accurate and cheaper price. So far, they have developed a camera that is multispectral and gives real-time solutions by screening the mouth for cancer cells. The camera clicks pictures of the inside of the mouth under different light wavelengths.
To ascertain abnormalities and assess it, a machine learning algorithm is put to work which guides the technician to the affected tissue for biopsy.
Based out of Hyderabad, this health tech startup has developed an innovative chip that helps detect cancer cells in blood circulation. Their technology can be called “micro fluids lab-on-a-chip” since they mimic the blood flow activity of a real capillary.
The company wishes to have a liquid biopsy alternative that can trace living cancer cells in the blood circulation. Once the data is acquired through a high-speed microscope camera, it is examined using AI algorithms.
There has been a strong resistance seen in women to have regular breast check-ups done and with rising cases of breast cancer, it has become more important to spread awareness.
A simple mammogram is useful for detecting breast cancer in older women but there have been more cases in young women as well. An early diagnosis of cancer in any form would be recommended. With breast cancer, there is a 99% chance of survival.
‘Thermalytix’ is Niramai’s solution that makes use of AI technology. A thermal sensing device scans the chest area like a camera which solves the privacy and touch problem that makes women hesitant to go for tests. Once the scan is produced to the pathologist, early signs of cancer can be detected.
What makes this different? Tumors that are 5 times smaller are also detected by this technology. Other clinical examinations don’t offer that. For small towns, this is of more benefit as there isn’t heavy equipment involved for setting up.
Exocan identified the challenge of accuracy and conclusiveness in the detection of cancer. There is always anxiety around cancer and people tend to go for a second or third opinion that delays their treatment.
To resolve this ambiguity, they developed a technology-based solution that examines the biofluids of a patient- blood, saliva or urine. Once it is examined, a diagnosis is provided which is more accurate and less expensive than current examination methods. Why makes it different? The reports are given within 2 days.
This technology is yet to have large scale trials but is expected to perform well for the speed and accuracy of reports.
WHO has also pressed on the need to focus on reducing deaths caused by cancer and finding advanced treatment solutions for the same. The world, however, is consumed majorly in tackling infections and working with limited health resources. Nevertheless, the effort can’t be minimized and with even startups working relentlessly in achieving an early diagnosis of cancer, there is hope. Early detection can help contain the spread of the disease and has higher chances of completing negating the disease as well.