9 startups working to make cancer diagnosis and care easy and convenient
India has grim statistics to show when it comes to cancer care. According to the National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research (NICPR), as of last year, there were over 22.5 lakh cancer patients in India.
Every year, over 11.5 lakh people are diagnosed with cancer and close to 10 percent of Indians are at the risk of developing cancer before they reach 75.
While top global research firms are working on the problem, several startups are also looking to bring in awareness, care, and ease to patients and caregivers.
Niramai, which offers a pain-free, AI-based screening solution to detect breast cancer in its early stage, may be one of the best known startups working in the field, but there are many others.
We list down nine startups working on ensuring that cancer diagnosis and care is easy, accessible, and convenient.
Founded by Dr Manjiri Bakre in 2011, OncoStem Diagnostics focuses on the development of innovative “multimarker prognostic and predictive tests” that aid in personalised treatment of patients.
Funded by Artiman Ventures and Sequoia Capital, this startup aims towards the identification of patterns of recurrence of various cancers. In addition to their flagship product, CanAssist-Breast, other lung, oral, and colorectal cancer tests are also being developed at this Bangalore startup.
Founded in 2015 by Dr Subhash Narayanan and Dr Ruhi Agarwala, Sascan’s multispectral camera is a non-invasive and real-time solution to screen and detect cancer cells in the mouth.
Its camera takes images of the inside of the mouth with illumination at different wavelengths of light. “The processed images are analysed in real time to decide whether the tissue is abnormal or not,” Dr Narayanan explains.
Founded in 2012, AIndra Systems uses AI-based computer vision for screening cervical cancer. Its founders, Adarsh Natarajan (CEO) and Abhishek Mishra, established this startup to develop innovative devices that assist in the screening and detection of cervical cancer in women at an affordable cost.
They received funding from Villgro Innovations Foundation, Indo-US Science and Technology Forum, and Millennium Alliance, which helped them develop the AIndra device.
Theranosis Life Sciences
Founded in 2016 by Dr Shibichakravarthy Kannan, Theranosis is working on a type of liquid biopsy that detects live cancer cells in blood circulation. Their innovative “microfluidics lab-on-a-chip” technology captures circulating tumour cells (CTCs) in peripheral blood.
“The CTCs are live cancer cells that metastasise to other organs via the bloodstream and grow into secondary cancers. So, CTCs are more important than DNA, which are derived from dead cancer cells,” Dr Kannan explains.
A predictive healthcare analysis platform with a core focus on oncology, Onward Assist is building different automated diagnostic tools that serve as assistants to pathologists.
Founded in 2016 by Dinesh Koka, Onward Health's Onward Assist provides valuable health insights, which are passed on to oncologists. The team is also looking at risk scoring for patients.
Founded in 2010 by Gitika Srivastava, Navya Network strives to provide an affordable consultation facility for cancer patients. This Bangalore startup has received funding from Paul Perry and Gautam Shewakramani, which has helped them develop a sound medical decision support system to make decisions for complex medical conditions.
This online platform works with renowned oncologists from the Tata Medical Centre to provide the best to their patients.
Aarin Capital, Navam Capital, and Ratan Tata-backed Invictus Oncology has adopted a multidisciplinary approach to build innovative therapies.
Founded in 2012 by Shiladitya Sengupta and Raghunath Mashelkar, the relatively new startup has already been instrumental in the development of platinum II-based anti-cancer supra-molecular therapeutics now available to the global market.
Founded by Samara Mahindra in 2018, Carer provides integrative therapy and treatment to help patients heal better, feel better, and live better during and after cancer treatment.
Carer’s programme is completely personalised and adaptable to the patient's diagnosis, prognosis, background, and lifestyle. It enables substantial healing and recovery while initiating permanent lifestyle changes.
Founded by Rashie Jain and Dr Amit Motwani, Onco is an aggregator for cancer care. The platform currently offers treatment advice and care management to cancer patients across 18 countries.
It has a network of over 1,500 oncologists, has over 500 hospitals and labs, and also allows patients to get personalised advice. The platform also manages the patient’s end-to-end care by connecting them with relevant treatment centres, doctors, and labs.
(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)