Niramai Use Thermal Imaging And AI To Revolutionize Breast Cancer Diagnostics

Niramai Use Thermal Imaging And AI To Revolutionize Breast Cancer Diagnostics
1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their life time, making it the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. On average, every 2 minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer, and 1 woman dies of it every 13 minutes. It is well established that early diagnosis is critical in saving lives. In fact, 90% of women diagnosed at the earliest stage survive the disease for at least 5 years, compared to only 15% diagnosed at the most advanced stage.

The current gold standard, mammography, require expensive equipment, experienced radiographers, and is only recommended to women over 45 who tend to have less dense breast tissue. And although it has been widely tested and proven to help reduce deaths by 25% among women who are screened regularly, it is painful, exposes patients to radiation, and have both high false-positive and false-negative rates.

The Bangalore-based startup Niramai Health Analytics is determined to create a universal cancer screening method that can detect breast cancer at a much earlier stage than traditional diagnostic methods. Niramai, acronym for Non-Invasive Risk Assessment with Machine Learning, uses a non-contact, low-cost device that takes high-resolution thermal images, and the startup has developed a software that utilize machine learning to analyze the images for early and reliable breast cancer detection. The portable and easy-to-use screening tool, called SMILE, has been tested on data from 300 patients and results indicate very high accuracy comparable to current diagnostics available.

Early diagnosis is critical in saving the life of a cancer patient, but the majority of breast cancers in low- and middle-income countries is diagnosed in very late stages. The only breast cancer screening that has proven to be effective is mammography, but it is very costly and is only cost-effective and feasible in countries with good health infrastructure. Niramai has developed an innovative solution that can detect cancer at a much earlier stage than traditional diagnostic methods. The technology remove technological, logistical and cultural barriers that hinder breast cancer screening among women today, and could significantly improve survival rates for all women. It is low-cost, non-contact, painless, free of any radiation and universally accessible, allowing women of all age groups to undergo frequent screening without any side-effects. The startup could bring reliable diagnostics and screening to women all around the world and potentially play a key role in improving outcomes in the battle against breast cancer.

Niramai was founded in July 2016 by Geetha Manjunath and Nidhi Mathur, and announced in April, 2017 that they had raised an undisclosed amount of seed fund. The funding round was led by pi Ventures, Ankur Capital, Axilor Ventures, Silicon Valley-based startup accelerator 500 startups, and the Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal. The startup has started two clinical trials, and are working with multiple partners to make the technology commercially available by mid-2017.

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