Six mobile startup solutions for the early detection of cancer

By Lior Weizman

| Healthcare

Millions of people around the globe are diagnosed with cancer each year. It is a known fact that finding and treating cancer at an early stage can save lives, as diagnosis of cancer at an early stage increases the odds for successful treatment. Once cancer has spread, treatment is more difficult and the chances of surviving are significantly lower.

Early detection needs two things in order to happen: First, people need education of the importance of early detection — knowing the warning signs and taking the right action to enable early diagnosis. The second is the screening process — the various tests that identify individuals who have cancer.

In this article, you’ll learn about six Israeli startups that are dedicated to creating better, more affordable and more efficient cancer screening solutions that could save the lives of millions.

1. Biop Medical

An IBM Alpha Zone Accelerator graduate, Biop is developing an optical probe for the accurate, real-time diagnosis of epithelial-based cancers. The company was founded by Ilan Landesman and Dalit Milo.

The company’s first product is focused on cervical cancer. Biop will accurately identify and classify precancerous and cancerous lesions at the earliest stage possible in just 90 seconds. Biop’s probe uses both imaging and non-imaging optics to penetrate the cervix to its deepest layer — the stroma — and create a precise map indicating an exact location and classification of any diseased lesions.

Biop developed a user-agnostic, highly correlated tool that will eliminate the need for biopsies and create an optimized environment for cancer and pre-cancer diagnoses. Future generations of Biop’s technology will be used to diagnose other HPV-related cancers that develop in the epithelium cells, including oral, laryngeal and colon cancer.

2. MobileODT

MobileODT is building powerful tools for health providers that work in limited-resource settings. Its solutions enable providers to assess and triage diseases in an affordable, accessible and visual-based manner, manage referrals, receive consultation from experts and enable health systems to track and monitor patient health over time. As a practical solution to the challenges posed by treating cervical cancer in resource-limited healthcare, the Enhanced Visual Assessment System was built to be affordable for nurses or general practitioners at the point of care.

Cervical cancer results in the deaths of more than 4,000 women annually, according to The Training Center, and it is one of the leading causes of death in rural areas and low-resource settings worldwide. However, MobileODT’s innovation does not stop with cervical cancer — the core technology is adaptable to other disease states and medical needs, wherever better approaches to imaging soft tissue can make a difference. The company was founded by Ariel Beery and David Levitz.

The MobileODT device

3. DermaCompare

DermaCompare, which was founded by Lior Wayn and Adi Zamir, is an FDA Class I-approved, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act-compliant skin cancer screening platform for mobile and cloud that enables physicians to identify and monitor changes in their patients’ skin health. The solution supports the Total Body Photography method — which uses 25 poses that cover the whole body — using an SLR camera or smartphone.

DermaCompare developed a smart algorithm based on the concept of aerial photos that allows healthcare providers to identify a mole, take its measurements, track its parameter changes and compare the measurements over time. There are millions of people at high risk for skin cancer all over the world, according to the Melanoma International Foundation. For now, there’s no cure, but early prevention is accessible, inexpensive and much more accurate than it once was.

4. Vayyar

Breast cancer is the No. 1 cancer type among women globally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vayyar is working to revolutionize early-stage breast cancer screening. The company developed a small handheld device that patients hold in their hand and place against their breast. In less than five seconds, they can see a 3-D image of their breast tissue and identify early-stage malignant growths.

The solution uses radio frequency technology, which is extremely safe and non-ionizing, that allows screenings to take place at the office of a nurse, general practitioner or gynecologist. Today’s mammograms are X-ray-based (ionizing), so the test can be painful and uncomfortable for patients. Further, experts are needed to operate the machinery, and the device is very expensive. Vayyar was founded by Raviv Melamed, Naftali Chayat and Miri Ratner.

The Vayyar Device

5. Sonorapy

Currently in the early development phase, Sonorapy’s technology will scan the body to detect foreign body pathogens — including cancer cells — using a noninvasive device that measures sound waves. A proprietary algorithm measures the resistance from the sound waves as compared to normal ranges. The device will detect foreign body pathogens, such as virus particles, bacteria and cancer cells, using the basic assumption that each pathogen has a unique acoustic feedback pattern.

By delivering time-critical information more quickly at the point of care, Sonorapy has the potential to significantly improve patient outcomes, lower healthcare costs, optimize therapy and save lives. Sonorapy’s technology would potentially detect all types of cancer earlier than traditional blood tests. The company was founded by Robert DelRio, Noemie Alliel, Jon Linch and Ryan Lee.

6. HT BioImaging

Currently in the development phase, HT BioImaging is developing an accurate, immediate and safe imaging method that will enable cancer detection. The company is now focusing on its first product, a lung cancer detection device. The system will be used in imaging and lung oncology departments and will offer further investigation imaging tests for lung cancer assessment and diagnosis. The results will be displayed immediately and can be compared with the subject’s previous tests by extracting the information in real time from the database.

Lung cancer is the leading cancer killer worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Installation of HT BioImaging’s system will assist in solving the further investigation and early detection problem, thereby saving CT scans, biopsies and other unnecessary treatments. The company was founded by Shani Toledano and Gidi Barak.

Written By

Lior Weizman

Startups & Developers Ecosystem Manager

Leading the Startups & Developers Ecosystem team in IBM Israel, including responsibility for IBM first startups accelerator in the world ("Alpha Zone"). Managing a team of Sales, Tech Experts, Business Development, Marketing and Program Managers, with a mission to build and execute…

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