If breast cancer patients had a simple tool to tell them whether or not they needed chemotherapy, it would help them save money and time. UK-based Indian-origin scientist, Dr. Hemel Imrania, and his team have made their lives a little easier with their latest invention. It is a rapid screening system designed to prevent breast cancer patients from undergoing unnecessary chemotherapy.
The technology-assisted detection kit was developed by a medical company called Digistain at Imperial College London and Cancer Research Center under the direction of pathologists and with input from around 1,500 oncologists. It has been successfully trialled at Nottingham University Hospital and Charing Cross Hospital, London. In India, the Apollo group is testing it for wider use.
According to Dr Hemel Imrania, a clinical pathologist, researcher at Imperial College London, and founder of Y Combinator, current testing methods are slow and expensive. “Our technology is faster, cheaper, and over 95 percent accurate. Its speed means less reliance on chemotherapy, delivering results in hours and days instead of weeks, thus saving health providers more than 30 percent of their budgets.” Existing mechanism for disclosure requirements chemotherapy in cancer It takes patients about a month’s time, which is expensive and can cost around Rs 3-4 lakh,” he says.
“The majority of cancers are diagnosed using resected biopsy specimens. They are graded, using the gold standard histopathology protocol based on hematoxylin and eosin (‘H+E’) chemical staining. However, grading is done by eye and if the same biopsy is graded by different practitioners, they They typically only agree 70 per cent of the time. The resulting problem of overtreatment is a huge unmet need across the world,” adds Dr. Imrania.
Its patented technology does not rely on static evaluation of chemical analysis but combines proprietary scanning and machine learning to identify patterns invisible to a static algorithm approach. This helps capture a unique signature from each biopsy and perform analysis of more than 10,000 data points per sample. Using this information, Digistain calculates a highly personalized risk score, which has been validated in over 800 patients during a study reviewed by Cancer Research UK.
The new technique uses mid-infrared imaging to map the partial concentration of nucleic acids, or the nuclear-to-cytoplasmic chemical ratio (NCR), across an unstained biopsy section. It allows the extraction of a quantitative Digistain Index score, corresponding to the NCR, from an objective physical measurement of cancer. Our goal here is to evaluate its potential to help diagnose cancer for the first time. We correlate DI scores with H+E scores in a double-blind clinical pilot trial,” says Dr. Imrania, who was on a visit to India recently. The tool will help detect cancer, especially breast cancer, as it remains one of the most common cancers worldwide. around the world.
“Recent improvements in treatment regimens have led to a significant reduction in mortality but there is still an urgent need to devise more precise techniques to guide clinicians on the treatments needed for specific patients. This is particularly true for breast cancer patients with an estrogen receptor (ER) positive form of the disease. This type constitutes approximately 80 percent of all cases and requires clinicians to decide whether there is an additional benefit from cytotoxic chemotherapy when added to endocrine therapy.In these cases, careful classification is particularly important because in many cases Often, in cases of negative breast cancer, the decision as to whether to give cytotoxic chemotherapy can be quite detrimental, explains Dr. Imrania.
The tool provides affordable testing and has the potential to eliminate inequities in care protocols in cancer treatment worldwide. “Some institutions in India have already embraced the tool, funded by the National Institute of Health and Care Research (NIHR) and supported by investment from Harvard University and Y Combinator,” he adds.
Dr Manish Singhal, Senior Consultant, Medical Oncology at Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, Delhi, used the technology on two of his patients. It gives the same information about the need for chemotherapy at about a quarter of current costs. In India, many patients can hardly afford to set aside 3 lakh rupees for this screening test,” he says.
However, adds Dr. Singhal, the new invention can help patients who are diagnosed with breast cancer in its early stages, and only a few women benefit from chemotherapy at this stage. “Now awareness of cancer has increased and 60 per cent of patients reach hospital at a very early stage,” he says. Dr. Imrania is in talks with government hospitals in India to assess whether his tool can help poor patients benefit from the right kind of cancer treatment.