Out of nearly 90,000 cases of oral cancer detected each year in India country, more than half the population dies in the same year owing to late detection. Early detection of neoplastic changes in the oral cavity is the only solution to reduce mortality rates and improve the quality of life of patients.
Moreover, oral cancer screening is usually conducted using conventional oral examination with a torch or mobile phone camera. However, it is not easy to visually distinguish between benign and premalignant sites within a potentially malignant lesion. Inflammation or irritation can often resemble premalignant conditions, making visual identification subjective. Although various oral cancer detection devices are available, these are subjective, not very accurate, and expensive.
To ensure an accurate diagnosis of the grade of cancer, the biopsy sample has to be taken from the most malignant site in the lesion. Even experienced clinicians find it difficult to locate the optimal site for a biopsy based on conventional oral examination. This can lead to multiple biopsies, increased expenditure, and false-negative reports, which can delay diagnosis and damage outcomes.
When Dr. Subhash Narayanan was twelve years old, his mother was wrongly diagnosed with head and neck cancer. The aggressive radiation therapy from this misdiagnosis left her bedridden for more than five years, severely depleting her quality of life. It has been more than 50 years since his mother’s misdiagnosis, but technology has not advanced enough to prevent similar incidents from occurring. Doctors still rely on subjective methods to arrive at a diagnosis.
Dr. Narayanan’s deeply personal wish for better diagnostic tools was his motivation for setting up Sascan – a technology start-up on a mission to develop affordable screening devices for early detection of cancer.
OralScan is an optical imaging multimodal device for the early detection of pre-cancerous lesions of the oral cavity. The device uses an optical system with custom-built software and algorithms for tissue analysis. It enables the physician to visualise and discriminate between healthy and potentially malignant sites before they perform a biopsy.
The diagnostic advantages of OralScan include non-invasive in vivo procedures and services, wide-field imaging of oral cavity, utilisation of a cloud-based machine learning algorithm for real-time feedback on tissue status and application of oxygenated haemoglobin (HbO2) absorption maps for biopsy guidance.
The company’s proprietary software makes it intuitive and easy to use in the clinical environment. Health workers can be easily trained to operate the instrument, gather patient data and share the screening report with clinicians for follow-up. It is also useful in assessing the grade of cancer at the point of care with the help of a machine learning algorithm.
The device has 97% sensitivity and 92% specificity. Sascan Meditech has already obtained CDSCO approval, CE certification and ISO 13485 certification for OralScan.
False-negative reports are quite common in detecting oral cancers. Patients may have to undergo multiple biopsies, which is a big financial burden for poor families. The delayed diagnosis also increases mortality risk. OralScan could eliminate the issue of false-negative reporting and significantly reduce the risk of death.
So far, OralScan has reached 8 states in India and touched the lives of more than 1,000 people.
Subhash is the Founder and CEO of Sascan Meditech. He is passionate about intertwining engineering with medicine to produce insights that enhance the clinical experience and benefit society.
FORMER CHAIRPERSON, THERMAX
Ms. Anu Aga is the former Chairpersonof one of India’s leading business houses –Thermax India. Since October 2004, she is serving as Director on the Thermax Board. After retiring from Thermax she took to social workand in 2010 was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India.She is also the Chairperson of Teach For India.She was nominated to Rajya Sabha, the Upper House of Indian Parliament by the Indian presidentin 2012. Earlier, she was a member of the National Advisory Council (NAC) chaired by Ms. Sonia Gandhi.
CHAIRPERSON, NARAYANA HEALTH
Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty is the chairman and founder of Narayana Healthand a cardiac surgeon with over34 years of experience. He initiated the concept of micro health insurance schemesin Karnataka, which eventually led to the Karnataka government implementing ‘Yeshasvini’, a micro health insurance scheme forrural farmers. He was a member of the National Innovation Council set up by the Government of India to discuss, analyse and help implement strategies for inclusive innovation in India and prepare a roadmap for innovation 2010-2020. He is the recipient ofa number of awards and honours, most noteworthy being Padma Shri and Padma Bhushanin 2003 and 2012 respectively, conferred by the Government of India.
Mr. Harsh C. Mariwala leads Marico as its chairman. Over the last threedecades, he has transformed a traditional commodity-driven business into a leading consumer products companyin the beauty and wellness space. Marico markets leading brands such as Parachute, Saffola, Mediker, Revive, Setwet, and Livon among others. From a turnover of INR 50 lakhs in 1971, Marico’s products and services in hair care, skin care and healthy foods generated a turnover of about INR 6,300 crores during 2017-18. Today,one out of three Indians is a Marico consumer.
FORMER CHAIRPERSON, ISRO
Dr. Radhakrishnan is former chairman of Indian National Space Organisation (ISRO). Starting his career as an Avionics Engineer in Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, he held several decisive positions in ISRO in the domains of space launch systems, space applications and space programme management. He is a Fellow of Indian National Academy of Science (FNASc), Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering (FNAE); Honorary Life Fellowof The Institution of Engineers, India; Honorary Fellow of The Institution of Electrical and Telecommunication Engineers, India; and Member of International Academy of Astronautics.
Mr. Kiran Karnik is the Chairperson of Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi and HelpAge India, and is also involved with a number of other not-for-profit organizations in the fields of education and development. Earlier, he was Chairperson of Oxfam India (2004-19), and President India Habitat Centre (2006-18). He was a Director on the Board of Reserve Bank of India (2011-15), and now chairs its IT subsidiary, Reserve Bank IT Pvt. Ltd. He is widely recognized for his work in the IT sector, as President NASSCOM from 2001 to 2008. He has had the unique experience of straddling the diverse spheres of government, business and civil society with equal comfort and accomplishment. He was a member of the National Innovation Council set up by the Government of India to discuss, analyse and help implement strategies for inclusive innovation in India and prepare a Roadmap for Innovation 2010-2020. He was awarded the prestigious Padma Shri in 2007.
Ms. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is Chairperson of Biocon since its inception, a first-generation entrepreneur and global business leader with over fourdecades of experience in biotechnology. Fueled by her passion, she started her biotech journey in 1978 from her garage in India. Today, that journey is changing lives for the better across the globe. She is regarded as an unconventional thinker with many firsts to her credit. Under her aegis, Biocon delivers on the promise of making medicines accessible and affordable to millions of patients worldwide.She was also a member of the National Innovation Council set up by the Government of India to discuss, analyse and help implement strategies for inclusive innovation in India and prepare a Roadmap for Innovation 2010-2020. She has received the Padma Shri (1989), Padma Bhushan (2005), Knight of the National Order of the French Legionof Honour (2016), Othmer Gold Medal (2014)and Order of Australia (2020).
FORMER DIRECTOR GENERAL, ICMR
Dr.Nirmal K. Ganguly is Advisor, Translational Health Science and Technology Institute and President, Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research in India. He is a former Director General of the Indian Council of Medical Research. Dr.Ganguly has published numerous papers and guided doctoral projects. His major research areas are tropical diseases, cardiovascular diseases and diarrhoeal diseases. He is a fellow of several institutions, including the Imperial College Faculty of Medicine and the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences, Canada. He has won numerous national and international awards, including the prestigious Padma Bhushanaward from the Government of India.
CO-FOUNDER, SWADES FOUNDATION
Mr. Ronnie Screwvala is a first generation entrepreneur who started his journey by introducing India to multi-channelTV viewing, by launching the first cable TV network in the country. From there, he went on to build a media and entertainment conglomerate spanning television, motion pictures, broadcasting, games and digital, that he listed in 2005 for a market cap of $55 million and that The Walt Disney Company bought in 2012 for an enterprise value of $1.4 billion.Ronnie puts a great deal of emphasis on social welfare. He founded the SwadesFoundation with the plan to impact one million people in rural Maharashtra in five years, with a clear exit/empowerment strategy from those villages, and building a model for others to follow.
FORMER DIRECTOR GENERAL, CSIR
Dr. Shekhar Mande is the Director General of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Secretary of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Government of India. He is one of India’s leading experts in DNAfingerprinting and diagnostics. As Director of the National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), an autonomous Institute of the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, Dr. Mande oversaw the launch of the Indian Human Microbiome Initiative in the Northeast.His laboratory at NCCS has been involved in research on the structural characterisation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis proteins and the computational analysis of genome-wide protein: protein interactions.In 2005, he was awarded the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology –the most prestigious science award in India –in the category of Biological Sciences.
FOUNDER & CH EDITOR, YOURSTORY
Ms. Shradha Sharma is the Founder and Chief Editor of YourStory, which she founded in 2008with the aim of championing the untold stories of entrepreneurship in India.Shradha lives her life in stories and believes thatevery story is uniqueand every story matters. Armed with degrees from St. Stephens College, Delhi and MICA, Ahmedabad, prior to founding YourStory,Shradha worked with Times of India and CNBC TV18. In 2015, she was selected in the list of 500 LinkedIn Influencers across the world. In 2015, she received the L’Oreal Paris Femina Award for Online Influence.
VICE CHAIRPERSON, PIRAMAL GROUP
Dr. Swati Piramal is Vice Chairperson, PiramalGroup, a global business conglomerate with diverse interests in pharma, financial services, healthcare information management, real estate and glass packaging. She is amongst India’s leading scientists and industrialists whose contributions in innovations, new medicines and public health services have touched many lives. Over the last three decades, Dr. Piramal’s work has been focused on the prevention of chronic diseases includingdiabetes, arthritis and heart ailments. Having led a team of scientists, Dr. Piramal has significantly contributed in the field of discovery research. Under her leadership, Piramal Group has been granted over 200 patents in medicine and a library of microbacteria, plants and fungi.
TRUSTEE, ANJANI MASHELKAR FOUNDATION
Sushil Borde heads innovation at Reliance and spearheads strategic initiatives in the Chairman’s office of Reliance Industries Limited, India’s largest private sector firm.
Sushil heads the Anjani Mashelkar Foundation, established by Dr R A Mashelkar, one of India’s legendary innovation leaders. The foundation accelerates disruptive, high-tech, ultra-affordable innovations for transformative impact.
Sushil has also led many other initiatives for Reliance including Mumbai Indians, a cricket franchise of the Indian Premier League (IPL). He was also part of the founding teams of Reliance Foundation and Jio Institute (Reliance’s University in India)
Sushil has spent 7 years in South Africa where he led the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Strategy for the country. Under this programme, he spearheaded an investment agency which deployed public funds in technology programmes to make the South African manufacturing sector globally competitive.
Sushil has also helped MIT, Boston to set up the Fab Foundation in the capacity of its President. The Fab Foundation deploys Fab Labs, a rapid product prototyping set up which allows non-technical people solve local problems through new product development. The mission of the Foundation is ‘Invention as Aid’.
Sushil’s academics include Mechanical Engineering and MBA degrees.