"AI will be immensely helpful for diagnosing cancer in India"

23 November 2018 | Interviews

At the upcoming 10th edition of TEDxGateway on 2nd December, 2018 at the DOME @ NSCI Mumbai, over 20+ speakers from different walks of life will be sharing unique ideas that make them an inspiration for the world over.

BioSpectrum got in touch with one of the speakers, Mihir Shah, Founder & CEO, UE LifeSciences. His startup currently provides affordable breast cancer detection devices. Since 2005, he has worked on multiple healthcare innovations, such as assessing cardiac output in a non-invasive manner, measuring traumatic brain injury-led bleeding in the skull, among others.


What are your major thoughts lined up for TEDxGateway 2018? 

I’m fascinated with the power of engineering to save lives! I plan to talk about that through my day job of bringing medical innovations to life. I’ll be talking about why and how one takes on grand challenges with couple great lessons from my superhero, my father.


How has the year gone by for UE life sciences and what more is in store for 2019?

It’s been great. We kicked-off 2018 with a TED Talk (with Shahrukh Khan, on Star TV) and now ending the year with another one! We’ve had the incredible pleasure of screening over 175,000 women across 12 countries. This year we also won two major scale-up awards from Pfizer Foundation and Bayer Cares Foundation with a total of $275,000 in grant funding to scale-up iBreastExam in new geographies. We entered several new markets in South-Asia, South-East Asia and Mexico, where we’ve won projects to reach over 500,000 women now. In October, the month of breast cancer awareness, we shipped 100 units in a single month. We have many surprises packed for 2019 and we look forward to delivering them soon!


How can technological advancements such as machine learning, AI help in fighting cancer better?

ML/AI is already starting play a role in managing therapies and in suggesting individualized treatment pathways. For places like India with fewer doctors, this will be immensely helpful as burden of cancer increases and population gets older, in years to come. Technology can also help improve diagnostic ability of tools for pre-screening (which is what iBreastExam does) and diagnosis. Just a few weeks ago, Google’s AI tool demonstrated that deep learning can detect metastatic breast cancer as well as an experienced pathologist.


What are the current challenges being faced in India with regard to cancer detection, and how can those be addressed?

Most cases are diagnosed late. Take the case of breast cancer, the most common cancer in India, amongst men and women combined. Of all the women in India today, some 25 million are likely to get diagnosed at some point during their lifetime and only 1 out of every 2 will survive. If we are to address this challenge, we need to make early detection accessible, affordable, accurate and easy for everyone. This is how and why we’ve built iBreastExam.


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