Staying ‘Abreast’ With Latest

Recently, their newest device SMILE-100 received US FDA approval. It takes recordings of thermally significant indications in a woman’s breast region.
Dr Geetha Manjunath with SMILE-100 device
Dr Geetha Manjunath with SMILE-100 device

In March, Sujata got the shock of her life. She was diagnosed with stage III breast cancer. She is just 31 years old and lives in Kolkata where she is undergoing chemotherapy.

“How could this happen?” she asked her doctors in despair. They shook their heads in sympathy; there was little they could do for her. Had she known of Thermalytix, a new device for early diagnosis of cancer, she would have been spared the pain, by undergoing its non-complicated nascent breast cancer detection process.

Thermalytix is a creation of Bengaluru-based healthcare innovators Dr Geetha Manjunath and Nidhi Mathur, who co-founded Niramai, a deep-tech healthcare startup meant for patients like Sujata.

Thanks to them, the detection of early-stage cancer is now non-invasive, radiation-free and contactless. ‘Pinktober’, or breast cancer awareness month, is knocking on the door, reminding women to take preventative mammograms.

Niramai is the first Indian company to get FDA clearance for a medical device, used for women's health. Thermalytix, its AI-powered breast thermography device makes the process smoother; using thermal imaging of the breast region, Niramai can identify potential areas of damage. “X-ray Mammography does not work effectively on women aged under 45 or those with dense breasts,” says Dr Manjunath.

“A mammogram isn’t comfortable either. The test developed by Niramai addresses these issues.” Thermalytix detects early breast cancer by measuring the temperature of the chest region.

It was the profound dismay after a close family member was diagnosed with breast cancer, that Dr Manjunath launched their company in 2016 along with Mathur. She has over 25 years in IT innovation.

Recently, their newest device SMILE-100 received US FDA approval. It takes recordings of thermally significant indications in a woman’s breast region. The test is effective in screening dense breasts or relatively high amounts of glandular tissue and fibrous connective tissue, usually found in younger women. SMILE-100 helps experts to visualise high thermal patterns as hotspots that come clearly demarcated in the image.

The simplicity of operation allows low-skilled health workers to carry out the test, obviating the need for skilled medical professionals at any test centre.

“Mammograms involve the potential risk of normal cells becoming cancerous because of radiation. Because breasts are radiosensitive, cancer risk increases if mammographic examinations are done too early or too frequently,” explains Dr Manjunath, vouching for the safety of her devices for women of all age groups.

“While there are other organisations on a mission to detect cancer early, they’re not successful with mass screenings because a mobile mammography van is an exorbitant proposition. With Thermalytix, screenings are accessible and scalable. Most importantly, it can save lives,” says Dr Manjunath.

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The New Indian Express