New Device Allows For Early Detection Of Breast Cancer

Market Expertz   |     June 03, 2019


A team comprising of four undergraduates at the John Hopkins University have developed a new, affordable, and disposable core-needle biopsy technology to help physicians and nurses with the diagnosis of breast cancer. The technology would also reduce waste, thereby increasing the available number of screening technologies that are available in the market. World Health Organization has founded a new startup named “Ithemba,” ‘hope’ in Swahili, to commercialize the new device. The WHO believes that the lack of early detection devices is the reason behind the rising instances of last-stage disease detection. The women behind the research have been awarded $60,000 in non-dilutive grant funding and a $10,000 prize after winning the undergraduate Lemelson-MIT Student Prize competition.

With more than 2 million women being diagnosed with breast cancer in the last year itself, it is necessary that developing countries have access to such technology. Even though in countries like the United States, treatment is available, in such countries, often these cases end up in mortality. Students at the University have been working towards developing low-cost diagnostic devices for the last three years, which was started by Dr. Susan Harvey, head of John Hopkins Section of Breast Imaging. Ithemba’s co-founders Laura Hinson, Madeline Lee, Sophia Trantis, and Valerie Zawicki, biomedical engineering undergraduate students, were the first ones to introduce it in the market. The four have created a core-needle biopsy with a lower risk of contamination as compared to the reusable devices that are presently available in the market and costs lesser than expensive disposable needles that are the only other option.

The device operates with a mechanism that stops the blood from being drawn back into the needle. The team claims that it makes reusable needles less prone to contamination. The company is conducting tests on the device and working on filing a 510K to get a Class 2 medical devices certification, in addition to registering for patents on the device.