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Posted at: Dec 2, 2019, 8:28 AM; last updated: Dec 2, 2019, 8:28 AM (IST)

Institute develops device to screen cervical cancer

Dipender Manta

Tribune News Service

Mandi, December 1

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology, Mandi, have developed an artificial intelligence-powered point-of-care device to screen for cervical cancer by analysing microscopic images with high accuracy. This project has been taken up in collaboration with Aindra Systems Private Limited, Bengaluru.

The research was undertaken by a team led by Dr Anil Sao and Dr Arnav Bhavsar, associate professors, School of Computing and Electrical Engineering, with their research scholars Srishti Gautam and Krati Gupta. The team, along with the industry collaborators, has developed AI-based algorithms that enable the device to undertake automatic screening for cervical cancer.

Cervical cancer is among the deadliest forms of cancer. Early detection and treatment are vital to those diagnosed with cervical cancer.

According to medical experts, the gold standard in screening for cervical cancer is the “Pap smear test” in which cells extracted from the cervix are examined by specialists using a microscope. While it has helped in early detection of cervical cancer, it involves subjective analysis and is associated with risks of false diagnoses. Studies say its accuracy ranges between 60 per cent and 85 per cent.

Dr Bhavsar said the test had been the standard examination to test for cervical cancer. However, the patients need to travel to the hospital for this test and this could be a problem, particularly in geographically distant areas or in regions without basic diagnostic infrastructure, there could be delays in interpreting results.

“The difference between a conventional system and Aindra’s point-of-care system is that the latter is portable and can be taken to the potential patients. In the conventional system, the people have to visit the pathology laboratory to get screened,” he said.

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