NIRAMAI: Providing Novel Universal Solution for Breast Cancer using AI

The increasing toll of breast cancer in developing nations is really heading towards a devastating situation. The disease once considered as the problem of affluent nations is now affecting developing nations like India at a large scale. The incidence rate of breast cancer is relatively lower in India, but it is rapidly rising. Breast Cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women today. Early detection of breast cancer can increase survival rates. Existing tests are reaching only 10% of the women that need to be screened every year globally. Enabling the rest of the 90% of the women to undergo screening is a huge opportunity and also a challenge that Niramai is addressing with its novel universal solution for breast screening. The new solution from Niramai is gaining good acceptance by women as it addresses even the social-cultural issues that deter women from going for breast screening.

A novel breast cancer screening by Niramai, provides a solution that is non-contact, non-invasive, radiation-free and can detect breast cancer in women of all age groups. The core technology of NIRAMAI solution is computer-aided diagnostics software that is powered by Artificial Intelligence and patented Machine Learning algorithms on high resolution thermal images. It provides complete test in two variants: one for hospitals and diagnostics centers to address the gaps in current screening tests to screen younger women, and second as a low cost, portable solution for enabling large scale screening in rural and semi-rural areas, as well as onsite corporate screenings. Niramai uses machine learning and big data analytics over thermal images to provide a reliable and low-cost method to detect breast cancer.

Indisputable and Accomplished Team

NIRAMAI was founded in July 2016 by two women co-founders, Dr Geetha Manjunath and Ms Nidhi Mathur with diverse expertise. Geetha, who is the CEO and CTO at Niramai, holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence from IISc and has led large teams to deliver innovative solutions in Hewlett Packard Labs and Xerox Research. She has over 25 years of research expertise in IT industry and has several patents, publications, national and international recognitions to her credit. Nidhi holds an MBA from IIMB with specialization in finance and marketing, and has expertise in commercializing new-to-the-world innovations. Nidhi plays the role of COO and CFO at NIRAMAI.

The key asset of Niramai is the core team of researchers and engineers, who have the passion to solve this huge problem of breast cancer using deep tech AI solution. The solution developed by Niramai is low cost, radiation-free, portable, has better accuracy, works on women of all age groups and has the ability to detect even early stage cancers in a completely privacy aware manner. This combination of simplicity and effectiveness makes it an easy choice for women to opt for screening without concerns.

Conducting Cancer-Screening Awareness

NIRAMAI launched a privacy-aware breast cancer screening solution for hospitals and diagnostic centers mid-2017. The team is now working on a mobile-based low-cost solution for breast cancer screening which can be used by gynecologists and general physicians to detect breast abnormalities in their patients, instead of relying only on hand examination.

It is very surprising that even educated women living in urban areas in India do not go for regular breast cancer screening tests. When Niramai conducted screening camps in corporate offices and apartment complexes, they also observed that a lot of women were initially very hesitant to undergo breast cancer screening. But when they saw the privacy aware aspects of screening, not only they came forward to get screening done, they also encouraged their friends and colleagues to go for the test.  Apart from privacy-awareness, the portability of equipment used by Niramai also makes it possible to serve the unserved in rural areas by using advanced technology that takes care of their medical as well as socio-cultural needs.

Technology Reaching Out for Breast Cancer Care

Technology is definitely useful in a country like India where there is a shortage of skilled medical professionals. Niramai makes cancer diagnosis objective, simpler and effective for Radiologists. The core mathematics used by Artificial Intelligence algorithms has now matured and the accuracy levels of automated decision making has reached the threshold of acceptance, and some cases even surpassed human decision making. AI will be used in all application domains, and in fact applications which don’t use analytics and AI will become obsolete very shortly. Experts predict that AI will reach a mode of singularity in 2029 where machines will perform better than humans in decision making. AI diagnostic tools are also booming in medical research at the moment, with machines helping doctors scour through data to better diagnose a variety of abnormal conditions.

Future Advancements of NIRAMAI

Niramai is working towards increasing the awareness about the solution among women population as well as practitioners. It is partnering with leading medical specialists to create additional proofs of the efficacy of the solution and establish the complete workflow to recommend how this solution can be an integral part of health services delivery. With that, the new solution will be considered as a standard modality accepted by a wider section of medical community. In addition, Niramai is also looking at extending the application of the innovation to areas other than breast cancer.