Leveraging Technology for Healthcare Transformation

Indian-origin professor makes fight against cervical cancer more affordable

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A biomedical engineering professor of Indian origin has come up with a unique portable device that has the potential to make screening of cervical cancer, one of the deadliest forms of cancers in India, more affordable and accessible.

Dr Nimmi Ramanujam, a Robert W Carr, Jr. Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Duke University in the US, and her team from the Pratt School of Engineering, developed the pocket-sized device as part of their optical stategy to innovate to peer into the biological landscape of thick tissues.

Considered to be an apt solution to deal with multitude of challenges of screening for cervical cancer in countries like India, where seeing a doctor in an unaffordable luxury and accessibility of quality diagnostics is a major issue, the reasonable price of the screening device is an added advantage.

Unlike traditional colposcopes that range from $5,000 to $20,000 in price, Ramanujam’s device costs only a few hundred dollars.

Cervical cancer is the leading cancer among Indian women and the second most common cancer in women worldwide. Approximately 365.71 million Indian women above 15 years of age are at risk of developing cervical cancer.

According to some estimates, around 132,000 new cases diagnosed and 74,000 deaths are registered acoross the country annually, accounting to nearly one-third of the global cervical cancer deaths.

Looking at the gravity of the situation, the government has launched screening campaigns against cervical cancer, breast cancer and oral cancer.

Dr Ramanujam’s device holds the potential to transform the way cervical cancer screening is conducted in remote areas of the country.

Dr Ramanujam, who founded the Global Women’s Health Technologies Centre in October of 2013, is leading a multi-disciplinary research effort to translate innovative technologies into clinical applications in the breast and cervical cancer.

She has received several awards for her work in cancer research and technology development for women’s health.

 

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