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Startup develops hand-held oral cancer screening tool

OralScan, an indigenously developedhand-held imaging device for screening, detection and biopsy guidance of oral cancer,has been developed by a startup here.

The startup, M/s Sascan Meditech Pvt Ltd, which was incubated at TiMED, the Technology Business Incubator of the city-based Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology, is launching the device, a press release said.

Oral Scan, a Make-in-India initiative with seed funding from the National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) scheme of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India,was designed and developed entirely in India and supported by Biotechnology ignition grant of Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), INVENT (DST) and Kerala StartUp Mission.

The company recently received investment from Unicorn India Ventures.

State Health Minister K K Shailaja, will launch OralScan at a function here on Wednesday.

An online event kickstarting the product sales and distribution network will also be held in the presence of dignitaries, oncologists and channel partners identified across the country.

Dr Asha Kishore, Director, SCTIMST will perform the first sale to Ketan Parmar, Innovative India, Surat.

According to Dr Subhash Narayanan, CEO of Sascan, oral cancer is a growing concern in India with more than 80,000 fresh cases reported each year.

The disease has a high mortality rate due to the delay in detection.

Current practise relies on oral examinations using a torch light to detect early stage cancers of the oral cavity.

Various studies have demonstrated that this screening technique is not very reliable and often oral potentially malignant lesions (OPMLs) go undetected in the early stages,the release said.

Even experienced clinicians find it difficult to locate the optimal site for a biopsy based on conventional oral examination.

This leads to multiple biopsies, increased expenditure and false negative reports which can delay diagnosis and outcome.

A proprietary software in the device assists the surgeon in taking biopsy from the most appropriate site which is likely to confirm the diagnosis of malignancy.

This will avoid multiple biopsies and false negative reports.

The device will be marketed at a price of Rs 5.9 lakh.

This will be a one-time investment for hospitals and laboratories without any additional costs of consumables.

The startup has already obtained ISO 13485 certification and CE certification.

An Indian patent has been granted for the technology and a US patent has been filed.

OralScan has also undergone multicentric trials covering six hospitals across the country.

“This device is expected to have good demand in general dentistry, oral medicine, Oral/Maxillofacial Pathology and surgery,” said Balram, Engineer, Sree Chitra and CEO of the incubator of Sree Chitra.

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