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Indo-US experts developing solar-powered oral cancer detector for remote areas

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Kolkata: Researchers in India and the US are testing a handy solar-powered device for early detection of oral cancer which could be integrated with mobile technology, enabling faster and accurate diagnostics in rural areas.

Designed by the Beckman Laser Institute (BLI), University of California-Irvine (UCI) and the Mazumdar Shaw Cancer Centre (MSCC) in Bengaluru, the compact screening and diagnosing system – slightly larger than a shoe box – has been specially adapted for India, which has one of the highest rates of head and neck cancers in the world and accounts for the highest rate among women.

Its light-weight and user-friendly features mean even minimally educated healthcare workers in the field can apply it. The solar energy-driven device will capture images of the patient’s oral cavity and transmit them via a mobile phone to experts at the centre.

“India is the first country in which we are using the device – it was specifically designed to meet conditions and needs there. The final device will have a solar option,” Petra Wilder-Smith of BLI told a news agency in an email interaction.

Recognised as a pioneer in the application of optics and lasers in oral diagnosis, Wilder-Smith said the device is based on optical coherence tomography (OCT) – an imaging technology that is similar to ultrasound, except that it uses light (a laser). The screening will be in real-time and the patient will not be subjected to harmful radiation.

“The inexpensive, very small, robust portable diagnostic system for oral cancer based on OCT will be used to screen for oral cancer in the field by basic level healthcare workers in India, and a simple diagnostic algorithm will indicate further diagnostic and treatment needs for each individual,” said Wilder-Smith, director of dentistry at BLI.

Oral cancer is the most common cancer in India, accounting for 40 percent of all cancers overall and for over 50 percent of all cancers in some areas of the country.

It is also disturbing to note the spike in oral cancer in young adults.

“In the US, the oral cancer rate is also high, especially in African-Americans, older persons, and tobacco and alcohol users. It is particularly troubling that recently a trend has been observed worldwide towards an increased incidence of oral cancer among young adults,” informed Wilder-Smith, stressing on early detection.

Why the emphasis on the light-based technology?

Wilder-Smith said oral cancer and pre-cancer are currently diagnosed using a visual exam, which has a poor accuracy rate, and by surgical biopsy, which cannot be performed in the field by basic-level healthcare workers.

And since existing and emerging imaging-based diagnostic tools are too expensive, too fragile and difficult to operate in remote locations, head and neck oncologist M.A Kuriakose from MSCC, who is leading the venture in India, said the probe will be of immense value in low-resource settings in rural India, where visits to dentists are rare.

“It is being tested in MSCC Bengaluru. The validation phase is 12 months. We are also planning to incorporate the transmission of the laser image from remote location via a mobile phone. Once developed, one needs to get regulatory approvals before it can be made available for wider clinical use,” Kuriakose said.

With the fabrication cost goal estimated at lower than $5,000 (Rs.335,000), researchers say the subsequent models of the probe will be wireless and 3D scan-enabled.

“The experimental model costs about Rs.1.5 lakh (lower than that of existing commercial devices). However, the commercial product cost will be significantly lower,” Kuriakose told a news agency.

The project is funded by the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering, under the Indo-US collaborative programme. The Department of Biotechnology is also a funding partner, said Kuriakose.

The collaborators are also working in close consultation to thrash out a simple diagnostic algorithm which will indicate further diagnostic and treatment needs for each individual.

“Screening will identify whether a person needs to travel to a centre with higher levels of expertise in oral cancer for further tests and potential cancer therapy,” Wilder-Smith added.

(Sahana Ghosh, IANS)

(Picture credit:www.thehoopsnews.com)

 

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Diabetic Women at Greater Risk of Developing Cancer Than Men, According to a New Study

Overall, it was calculated that women with diabetes were six per cent more likely to develop any form of cancer than men with diabetes

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The researchers found that women with diabetes were 27 per cent more likely to develop cancer than women without diabetes but for men the risk was 19 per cent higher.
The researchers found that women with diabetes were 27 per cent more likely to develop cancer than women without diabetes but for men the risk was 19 per cent higher. Pixabay

Women suffering from diabetes may be at a higher risk of developing cancer than men, a new study has found.

The findings suggested that among the study participants, women with diabetes (Type 1 and Type 2) were at higher risks for developing kidney cancer (11 per cent), oral cancer (13 per cent), stomach cancer (14 per cent) and leukaemia (15 per cent) compared to men with the similar condition.

Diabetes affects more than 415 million people worldwide, with five million deaths every year.

According to the researchers, it is believed that heightened blood glucose may have cancer-causing effects by leading to DNA damage.

“The link between diabetes and the risk of developing cancer is now firmly established,” said lead author Toshiaki Ohkuma from The George Institute for Global Health in Australia.

They also found that diabetes was a risk factor for the majority of cancers of specific parts of the body for both men and women.
They also found that diabetes was a risk factor for the majority of cancers of specific parts of the body for both men and women. Pixabay

“The number of people with diabetes has doubled globally in the last 30 years but we still have much to learn about the condition,” Ohkuma added.

For the study, published in the journal Diabetologia, the researchers examined data on all-site cancer events (incident or fatal only) from 121 cohorts that included 19,239,302 individuals.

The researchers found that women with diabetes were 27 per cent more likely to develop cancer than women without diabetes but for men the risk was 19 per cent higher.

Also Read: Eating Dinner Early May Lower Risk of Breast, Prostate Cancer

They also found that diabetes was a risk factor for the majority of cancers of specific parts of the body for both men and women.

Overall, it was calculated that women with diabetes were six per cent more likely to develop any form of cancer than men with diabetes.

“It’s vital that we undertake more research into discovering what is driving this, and for both people with diabetes and the medical community to be aware of the heightened cancer risk for women and men with diabetes,” Ohkuma noted. (IANS)