The Tel Aviv startup has developed hardware and software that can turn any digital camera into a tool for detecting cervical cancer
By Aviva Gat
More than 250,000 women die each year from cervical cancer, but many of those deaths could be prevented if diagnosed early and correctly. Israeli-startup MobileOCT has designed a product it says can solve this inability to diagnose cervical cancer by turning any digital camera or smartphone into a cancer detecting device.
The company has built a compound lens that can capture data required for diagnosing cancer. The lens can separate the superficial tissue layer from the deeper layer to asses tissue composition. While the company is focusing on cervical cancer right now, the technology could be used for skin, GI, oral cavity and for general surgical endoscopy.
The biophotonics technologies company wants to supply their diagnostic device to health workers in low-resource settings. The technology includes hardware and software that allow a mobile phone to analyze epithelium, or tissue, and immediately identify cancer and other tissue diseases. Because it uses a mobile phone, MobileOCT also has access to telemedicine capabilities.
Searching for investors Dr. David Levitz, a biomedical engineer, and Ariel Beery, the founder of social venture accelerator PresenTense, founded MobileOCT in October 2012. The Tel Aviv company raised $230,000 from angel investors in 2013 and this spring will be looking for $3 million in investments to continue trials and tests of the product.
The company also took first place in startup competition Elevator World Tour in Tel Aviv in December, which awarded it a $100,000 investment.
Four clinical trials have been set up, in St. Francis Clinic in Hartford, Conn., the University of Pennsylvania, Scripps Institute in San Diego, Calif., and at the Rambam Hospital in Haifa. So far only the trial at St. Francis has started, but the Rambam trial is ready as well.
Next month, MobileOCT will deliver five prototypes to be tested in the field. The company then intends to begin world sales by January 2015.
The need to make diagnostic services available worldwide is pressing in our age. According to MobileOCT, cancer screening capabilities is limited in at least 60 countries due to a lack of technology. While the company is focused on one type of cancer right now, MobileOCT said it intends to expand its application for other maladies.