Beyond the Pap smear: Startup using telephone, light and AI to detect cervical cancer



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MobileODT Israel, which started saying they could detect cervical cancer more accurately and cheaply than the standard colposcopy method currently in use, by creating a cellular digital colposcope consisting of smartphones equipped with light sources, magnification lenses and artificial intelligence algorithms.

Colposcopy is a procedure that uses colpocope which provides the doctor with an illuminated and enlarged view of the female cervix and vaginal tissues and vulva, to filter cervical cancer.

In 2018, 570,000 women were diagnosed with cervical cancer worldwide, making it the fourth most common cancer in women, according to the World Health Organization. A National Cancer Institute study also showed that 80 percent of cases and 90 percent of 280,000 deaths occurred in low and middle income countries, where the number of qualified colposcopy experts – specialists who deal with screening these anatomical areas – lower and health service operators have fewer resources.

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Cervical cancer, usually caused by the Human papillomavirus (HPV), which is mostly transmitted through sexual contact, can be prevented through vaccination against prophylaxis against HPV, and the risk of death can be sharply reduced by early diagnosis, appropriate treatment and screening programs, using smear Pap, which involves erosion of the cervical wall with spatulas for sample cells.

Standard closeup colposcope with an ultrasound machine in the gynecology room (OKrasyuk; iStock by Getty Images)

With Eva System, which uses the Automated Visual Evaluation (AVE) algorithm, MobileODT says it can detect cervical cancer simply by checking the image of the cervix.

According to the company, the AVE algorithm has proven to be more reliable than a human expert doing colposcopy in identifying abnormal tissue that leads to the possibility of developing cervical cancer in the future.

After developing the initial algorithm in collaboration with the National Cancer Institute, MobileODT created a portable, wireless and internet-connected colposcope called Eva Colpo that can be used in any clinic and medical practice, allowing women living in poorer areas to benefit from screening tests. right. .

The device hardware is a white, water-proof case that covers a smartphone, which is an integral part of the device. Samsung J530 is the only supported model, content and community manager Rachel Gross told The Times of Israel. There is a handle with the power button at the bottom of the cover.

Eva Colpo is equipped with light sources for lighting, cameras with lenses for 16x optical magnification, and cross-grid polarization for glare reduction.

The device is directed to the pelvic area, after vaginal widening occurs through the use of a speculum. Then colposcopy experts can see the cervix on the mobile screen in real time and very detailed, the company said.

MobileODT, which started from Israel, created the Eva System, which uses the Automated Visual Evaluation (AVE) algorithm, which has been proven to be more reliable than human experts when doing colposcopy in identifying abnormal tissue that indicates the possibility of developing cervix in the future. cancer (Courtesy)

As a next step, doctors take high-quality photos or captured videos. This data is then transferred to the cloud where "the algorithm will assess images for the presence of cancer," Gross said. Cancer is detected by software integrated through abnormalities in cervical tissue.

The AVE algorithm has not been cleaned for use by the US Food & Drug Administration for diagnostic purposes, but is currently cleared by the FDA and CE as a visualization tool, according to Gross, who added that when algorithms receive FDA approval – in one year two depends on the FDA timeline – that would change the Eva System to be the right diagnostic tool.

The EVA system has been used in 29 countries including Kenya, India and Cambodia, plus 50 health care systems throughout the US, Gross said, but only as a tool to visualize the cervix that can provide enlargement after an HPV test or Pap has been performed. do.

Through the EVA System application – available for download on the Google Store – practitioners will be able to provide a direct diagnosis and record their decision to treat patients on the spot without waiting for other test results, or refer them to other facilities for treatment.

Taking pictures and videos can be stored on a smartphone and synchronized safely to an online portal created by the company. This information can then be exported and uploaded to electronic medical records (EMR) from practitioners.

MobileODT recently achieved integration with EMR Athealth, a company that provides cloud-based services in health care, Gross said.

Doctors can also add annotations and filters to images so that they get new useful details, and monitor patient progress over time.

The big advantage is connectivity. Each patient data is stored in individual folders and can be shared safely through a web portal with colleagues or other organizations for clinical assessment and consultation, generally improving practitioners' performance.

In addition, doctors can review stored material and even use it for distance learning purposes.

Ariel Beery, CEO of MobileODT Israeli startup (screenshot of YouTube)

"Our team is proud to provide a AVE-activated colposcope to reach more women and save more lives," CEO Ariel Beery said in a press release.

Products, which according to the company are available for a fraction of the price of a standard colposcope, are aimed not only at individual specialists, but also hospitals and NGOs involved in the medical field.

Mobile ODT announced last week that it will soon begin pilot studies in India, where only 3.1% of 432 million women at risk of cervical cancer can undergo clinical screening. The company aims to screen 250 women per day and has partnered with Apollo Hospital partners and Genworks Health, a major provider of health care solutions in Asian countries.

The MobileODT team is working in India last week to train doctors on how to use the device, Gross said.

This clinical study – the first wide-scale – is intended to improve the AI ‚Äč‚Äčalgorithm "by comparing cytological co-testing with algorithmic performance, using biopsy as a basic truth," the company said.

The Tel Aviv-based company was founded in 2012 by Beery's childhood friend and CTO David Levitz. Former CEO of global accelerator social business PresentTenseGroup, Beery also teaches at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, while Levy has a background in biomedical engineering.

Currently in its Round B funding, MobileODT has so far collected $ 11 million, according to the Start-Up Nation Central database, which tracks the Israeli technology industry.

MobileODT also has another application for its technology: its devices are able to be adapted to examine patients who are sexually abused and collect forensic findings, the company said.

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