Every October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an important time to think about ways to prevent and treat breast cancer, which is the second main cause of death in women worldwide. It is also the most common cancer to affect women. According to the World Cancer Research Fund, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands have the highest rates of breast cancer in the world.
Thankfully, the death rates have been declining since the 1980’s, they dropped about 40%, which translates into more than 322,000 lives saved. While this is very good news, there is still a long way to go. Approximately 40,920 deaths from invasive female breast cancer are predicted for 2018 in the United States alone. We decided to highlight promising innovators working on solutions in order to, hopefully, significantly decrease this number in the next few years.
1. iSono Health
After her friend Kelly was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was not even 30 years old, Maryam Ziaei PhD, Co-founder and CEO of iSonoHealth realized there was a big problem in the way breast cancer was being screened. 1 in 3 cases of cancer is missed and sporadic screening is inaccessible to millions of women, especially young ones.
Together with her business partner, Shadi Saberi PhD, Co-founder and CTO, they developed a solution that combines automated ultrasound with machine learning. The device attaches to a wearable, allowing for a hands-free scan and sends the data to a cloud device. That way, physicians can visualize whole breast volume and accurately localize and measure lesions in 3D, without any radiation or patient discomfort.
CureMetrix were the winners of the Phillips Innovation Challenge in 2016, with their innovative image analysis platform. Some facts drew their attention to a problem: almost 2% of screening mammograms result in biopsy, and approximately 70% of these biopsies are benign and $4 billion is spent annually in the U.S. on mammography false positives. Not only does it mean a lot of money spent, but it also can cause a lot of stress and long-term psychosocial harm to the patient.
There is also the fact that cancer is often missed in initial screening mammograms between 20% and 50% of the time. The reasons for this include the low incidence rate of cancer, inter-observer variability, dense breast tissue that obscures abnormalities and the human factor.
CureMetrix wants to build a Computer Aided Detection (CAD) software that works. cmAssist has the potential to quickly detect key regions of interest on a mammogram, and accurately quantify and classify the anomalies as suspicious or verifiably benign. It does this by searching all views of a digital 2D-mammogram for abnormal areas of density, mass or calcification and by highlighting any suspicious areas needing further analysis.
CancerAid is the number one cancer app in the UK, US and Australia. It can store all cancer and diagnostic information in one place, personalized to the patient and easy to access when needed. It also allows the user to access medically accurate peer reviewed information, learn about recommended treatments and make informed decisions. And with the symptoms journal, patients can track and manage their symptoms, medications and their effectiveness.
That’s not all. It also allows users to connect with others going through similar experiences, documents the journey and gives patients the opportunity to participate in research and help future generations.
NIRAMAI develops a non-invasive, privacy sensitive and highly accurate hardware-software solution for breast cancer screening. Unlike mammography, their imaging method is radiation free, non-touch, not painful and works for women of all ages. The core technology of their solution is an artificial intelligence led diagnostic platform that uses patented thermal image processing and machine learning algorithms for reliable and accurate breast cancer screening.
Micrima wants to offer an alternative for mammography, a new system, called MARIA. It’s a new breast imaging modality based on radio-wave technology that offers new diagnostic information in dense tissue and helpfully requires no breast compression or ionising radiation exposure to the patient. The system is safer and more comfortable than the usual mammography.
For women who undergo a mastectomy, breast reconstruction can be a challenging and long process. AirXpanders realized that saline expansion takes several months to complete, can be extremely uncomfortable and requires lots of office visits. The AirXpander system offers a need free solution that tackles all the issues caused by the traditional saline expansion.
The AeroForm Tissue Expander System is comprised of two primary components: the AeroForm Tissue Expander and the AeroForm Dosage Controller. With one press of the single-touch button, the Controller syncs with the Expander and a dose of 10cc of carbon dioxide is released, allowing the Expander to gradually expand.
Kheiron combines novel deep learning methods and radiology insights to find malignancies in mammograms. This enables an entirely new level of diagnostics we can use to detect cancer and improve patient outcomes.