Allahabad: An Indo-Russian scientific venture here claims to have come up with a new diagnostic kit for early detection of breast cancer at a much lower cost and without requiring highly-qualified medical professionals.
The new machine has been developed by experts at the state-owned Indian Institute for Information Technology, Allahabad (IIIT-A) in coordination with the Moscow-based
Institute of Radio Engineering, which is a part of the Russian Academy of Sciences, IIIT-A Director M D Tiwari said.
"The new machine is different from the tools being used at present to detect breast cancer. While existing machines have voluminous structures and problems in portability and involve high cost, the latest kit can be carried in a briefcase and is free from technical complexities," he said.
The major component of the invention includes specially-developed software, programming language and sensors that help in identification of the breast cancer cells.
"Unlike existing diagnostic kits, the new machine will not cause any damage to tissues and cells of the patient," Tiwari claimed.
The new machine weighs only 1.5 kg and is capable of making a "non-invasive diagnosis of breast cancer at a very low operating and maintenance cost," the IIIT-A director
claimed. He said a single unit of the machine costs around Rs 12 lakh and just Rs 150 per patient for diagnosis.
"It can be easily attached to an ordinary laptop connected with the sensors and it will thereafter give its findings within 50 seconds," Tiwari said.
He said the software capable of deciphering the signals emanating through the sensor pads placed on the breast of the patient has been developed by the IIIT-A team while the
hardware and mechanical and electronic components have been developed by Russian scientists.
"The clinical testing of the machine has already been undertaken at different locations across India and Russia and the result so far has been highly satisfactory," Tiwari said.
At present, the machine is functional at IIIT-A`s health centres at the institute`s main campus here and the extension campus at Amethi, he said.
The IIIT-A Director said efforts were on for securing a patent for the new machine and proper marketing and commercial distribution at the national as well as international levels.
He said the entire endeavour, right from the concept phase to the development of the software and the hardware, took around two-and-a-half years.
The effort was aimed at developing "a unique smart machine that could help even a layman identify breast cancer at an early stage, making treatment easier and more
effective," he said.
"We are confident that due to its unique characteristics, the new machine would be of great help in rural areas where costly diagnostic options are often not feasible and trained
professionals are not easily available," Tiwari said.