Breaking News
May 3, 2019 - Vaping and Smoking May Signal Greater Motivation to Quit
May 3, 2019 - Dementia looks different in brains of Hispanics
May 3, 2019 - Short-Staffed Nursing Homes See Drop In Medicare Ratings
May 3, 2019 - Study of teens with eating disorders explores how substance users differ from non-substance users
May 3, 2019 - Scientists develop new video game that may help in the study of Alzheimer’s
May 3, 2019 - Arc Bio introduces Galileo Pathogen Solution product line at ASM Clinical Virology Symposium
May 3, 2019 - Cornell University study uncovers relationship between starch digestion gene and gut bacteria
May 3, 2019 - How to Safely Use Glucose Meters and Test Strips for Diabetes
May 3, 2019 - Anti-inflammatory drugs ineffective for prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
May 3, 2019 - Study tracks Pennsylvania’s oil and gas waste-disposal practices
May 3, 2019 - Creating a better radiation diagnostic test for astronauts
May 3, 2019 - Vegans are often deficient in these four nutrients
May 3, 2019 - PPDC announces seed grants to develop medical devices for children
May 3, 2019 - Study maps out the frequency and impact of water polo head injuries
May 3, 2019 - Research on Reddit identifies risks associated with unproven treatments for opioid addiction
May 3, 2019 - Good smells may help ease tobacco cravings
May 3, 2019 - Medical financial hardship found to be very common among people in the United States
May 3, 2019 - Researchers develop multimodal system for personalized post-stroke rehabilitation
May 3, 2019 - Study shows significant mortality benefit with CABG over percutaneous coronary intervention
May 3, 2019 - Will gene-editing of human embryos ever be justifiable?
May 3, 2019 - FDA Approves Dengvaxia (dengue vaccine) for the Prevention of Dengue Disease in Endemic Regions
May 3, 2019 - Why Tonsillitis Keeps Coming Back
May 3, 2019 - Fighting the opioid epidemic with data
May 3, 2019 - Maggot sausages may soon be a reality
May 3, 2019 - Deletion of ATDC gene prevents development of pancreatic cancer in mice
May 2, 2019 - Targeted Therapy Promising for Rare Hematologic Cancer
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease is a ‘double-prion disorder,’ study shows
May 2, 2019 - Reservoir bugs: How one bacterial menace makes its home in the human stomach
May 2, 2019 - Clinical, Admin Staff From Cardiology Get Sneak Peek at Epic
May 2, 2019 - Depression increases hospital use and mortality in children
May 2, 2019 - Vicon and NOC support CURE International to create first gait lab in Ethiopia
May 2, 2019 - Researchers use 3D printer to make paper organs
May 2, 2019 - Viral infection in utero associated with behavioral abnormalities in offspring
May 2, 2019 - U.S. Teen Opioid Deaths Soaring
May 2, 2019 - Opioid distribution data should be public
May 2, 2019 - In the Spotlight: “I’m learning every single day”
May 2, 2019 - 2019 Schaefer Scholars Announced
May 2, 2019 - Podcast: KHN’s ‘What The Health?’ Bye-Bye, ACA, And Hello ‘Medicare-For-All’?
May 2, 2019 - Study describes new viral molecular evasion mechanism used by cytomegalovirus
May 2, 2019 - SLU study suggests a more equitable way for Medicare reimbursement
May 2, 2019 - Scientists discover first gene involved in lower urinary tract obstruction
May 2, 2019 - Researchers identify 34 genes associated with increased risk of ovarian cancer
May 2, 2019 - Many low-income infants receive formula in the first few days of life, finds study
May 2, 2019 - Global study finds high success rate for hip and knee replacements
May 2, 2019 - Taking depression seriously: What is it?
May 2, 2019 - With Head Injuries Mounting, Will Cities Put Their Feet Down On E-Scooters?
May 2, 2019 - Scientists develop small fluorophores for tracking metabolites in living cells
May 2, 2019 - Study casts new light into how mothers’ and babies’ genes influence birth weight
May 2, 2019 - Researchers uncover new brain mechanisms regulating body weight
May 2, 2019 - Organ-on-chip systems offered to Asia-Pacific regions by Sydney’s AXT
May 2, 2019 - Adoption of new rules drops readmission penalties against safety net hospitals
May 2, 2019 - Kids and teens who consume zero-calorie sweetened beverages do not save calories
May 2, 2019 - Improved procedure for cancer-related erectile dysfunction
May 2, 2019 - Hormone may improve social behavior in autism
May 2, 2019 - Alzheimer’s disease may be caused by infectious proteins called prions
May 2, 2019 - Even Doctors Can’t Navigate Our ‘Broken Health Care System’
May 2, 2019 - Study looks at the impact on criminal persistence of head injuries
May 2, 2019 - Honey ‘as high in sugars as table sugar’
May 2, 2019 - Innovations to U.S. food system could help consumers in choosing healthy foods
May 2, 2019 - FDA Approves Mavyret (glecaprevir and pibrentasvir) as First Treatment for All Genotypes of Hepatitis C in Pediatric Patients
May 2, 2019 - Women underreport prevalence and intensity of their own snoring
May 2, 2019 - Concussion summit focuses on science behind brain injury
May 2, 2019 - Booker’s Argument For Environmental Justice Stays Within The Lines
May 2, 2019 - Cornell research explains increased metastatic cancer risk in diabetics
May 2, 2019 - Mount Sinai study provides fresh insights into cellular pathways that cause cancer
May 2, 2019 - Researchers to study link between prenatal pesticide exposures and childhood ADHD
May 2, 2019 - CoGEN Congress 2019: Speakers’ overviews
May 2, 2019 - A new strategy for managing diabetic macular edema in people with good vision
May 2, 2019 - Sagent Pharmaceuticals Issues Voluntary Nationwide Recall of Ketorolac Tromethamine Injection, USP, 60mg/2mL (30mg per mL) Due to Lack of Sterility Assurance
May 2, 2019 - Screen time associated with behavioral problems in preschoolers
May 2, 2019 - Hormone reduces social impairment in kids with autism | News Center
May 2, 2019 - Researchers synthesize peroxidase-mimicking nanozyme with low cost and superior catalytic activity
May 2, 2019 - Study results of a potential drug to treat Type 2 diabetes in children announced
May 2, 2019 - Multigene test helps doctors to make effective treatment decisions for breast cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - UNC School of Medicine initiative providing unique care to dementia patients
May 2, 2019 - Nestlé Health Science and VHP join forces to launch innovative COPES program for cancer patients
May 2, 2019 - Study examines how our brain generates consciousness and loses it during anesthesia
May 2, 2019 - Transition Support Program May Aid Young Adults With Type 1 Diabetes
May 2, 2019 - Study shows how neutrophils exacerbate atherosclerosis by inducing smooth muscle-cell death
May 2, 2019 - Research reveals complexity of how we make decisions
Using smartphone confocal microscopes to stop cancer

Using smartphone confocal microscopes to stop cancer

Using an affordable, portable device that attaches to a smartphone, researchers hope to save lives in rural Africa

Dongkyun “DK” Kang was in the shower a few years ago when inspiration struck, and he became interested in the idea of imaging human tissue in vivo, or on a living person, using a smartphone attached to a microscope.

“I started looking for clinical applications where it would be useful, and that’s how I met Esther Freeman, the director of global health dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital, who has been working to treat the skin cancer Kaposi’s sarcoma in Africa for almost a decade,” he said. “She had a clinical problem. I had an interesting technology that could potentially help.”

He did help. He worked with Freeman and Aggrey Semeere, a physician in Uganda, to develop technology that can allow clinicians in rural clinics to diagnose Kaposi’s sarcoma using smartphone confocal microscopes, or imaging devices that collect light from a single pinhole to create high-resolution images viewable on a smartphone. The low cost, easy-to-use and portable devices have a potential to make early diagnosis, more effective treatment and lower mortality rates possible.

Now, the assistant professor in the UA Department of Biomedical Engineering and the College of Optical Sciences, and member of the BIO5 Institute and the UA Cancer Center, is using a grant of more than $400,000 from the John E. Fogarty International Center to extend the same technology to screening for cervical cancer and cervical precancer.

“DK embodies the innovative, can-do spirit of Engineering’s new faculty,” said Jennifer Barton, professor of biomedical engineering and director of the BIO5 Institute. Barton is a leader in developing cancer-screening endoscopes and mentored Kang for this project. “Not only does he create novel biomedical optics tools, but he puts them to use to help the world’s most underserved people,” she said. “His new cervical cancer point-of-care detection device will help ensure that no woman dies from this disease, which is eminently curable if caught early.”

A New Application in Cervical Cancer

Kang has always enjoyed offering hands-on help to communities in need. He volunteered as a tutor at an orphanage every week during his college years in Korea, and while he was creating the Kaposi’s sarcoma microscopy device, he made several trips to the Infectious Disease Institute in Uganda first to see where the devices would be used and, later, to see them in action.

While in Uganda, he learned that the country bears one of the highest incidence rates of cervical cancer, at 54.3 per 100,000 women and rising. Mortality rates associated with cervical cancer in East African countries are 27.6 per 100,000 women, a dozen times the United States’ 2.3 per 100,000.

“This disease is affecting women in their 20s and 30s and 40s — really young women who are just starting their families, who have kids,” Kang said. “It’s really heartbreaking.”

Miriam Nakalembe, an OB-GYN in Uganda and Kang’s collaborator, said 60 percent of the cervical cancer patients she sees in Ugandan hospitals are already in the late stages of the disease. Without regular pap smears or cervical exams, women simply aren’t catching the disease early. Though many local health care providers in Uganda have a cryotherapy tool they can use to freeze off suspect tissue, they don’t know when to use the treatment because they don’t have adequate screening methods.

“A lot of patients have no hospital in their local community where they get this done, so the goal is to bring these low-cost and portable devices to a rural clinic, set up a tent and do the test. Then, right on the spot, they can do the cryotherapy,” Kang said.

The Science Behind the Solution

In Uganda and other countries, the most common way to screen for cervical cancer is tissue staining, which has a very high rate of false positives. This means women undergo unnecessary treatments, and limited resources aren’t used where they’re needed. Another method, confocal microscopy, is more accurate but costs upwards of $50,000.

This smartphone endoscope screens more accurately than staining, and has an estimated cost of less than $3,000. Affordability, portability and ease of use will bring screening to more people in remote areas.

“We want to make the device easy enough to use that anyone with a minimal background in engineering or medical education can use it — the previous smartphone imaging confocal device we were using in Uganda was used by a clinical technician, not a doctor,” Kang said. “It’s a smartphone. You just turn it on and take a picture.”

Kang and his Ugandan collaborators hope to begin using the new cervical cancer-screening devices in Uganda in 2019, and are working with Tech Launch Arizona to help commercialize the invention. In the future, the device will be able to identify potentially cancerous areas, analyze images automatically, and recommend the appropriate treatment. The device should mean patients don’t have to travel far to clinics, but even if they do, they could undergo a few minutes’ screening and be treated the same day if cancer or precancer is detected.

With one device with the potential to screen for cancer already developed and another on the way, Kang muses on the time the idea for it all came to him in the shower.

“Sometimes, I think I just might want to take more than one shower every day,” he smiled.


Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles