Startup at Kerala’s Sree Chitra Institute develops device for oral cancer diagnosis

OralScan, that will avoid multiple biopsies and false negative reports, is developed by a startup Sascan and will be launched on Wednesday.
Sascan team, of Sree Chitra Institute of Science and Technology Kerala
Sascan team, of Sree Chitra Institute of Science and Technology Kerala
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In a development that could lead to a more accurate and early diagnosis of oral cancer, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, is all set to launch OralScan, a hand-held imaging device for screening, detection and biopsy guidance of the disease.

“In the device, proprietary software assists the surgeon in taking biopsy from the most appropriate site which is likely to confirm the diagnosis of malignancy. This will avoid multiple biopsies and false negative reports. The device will be marketed at a price of Rs 5.9 lakh. This will be a one- time investment for hospitals and laboratories without any additional costs of consumables,” said an official release from the institute. OralScan has undergone multicentric trials, covering six hospitals across the country.


A startup named Sascan Meditech Private Limited, incubated at TiMED, the Technology Business Incubator of the institute, has developed the imaging device. It will be launched by the state Health Minister KK Shailaja in an online event on Wednesday. The sale of the device and distribution network will also be launched at the event.

“Oral cancer is a growing concern in India, with more than 80,000 fresh cases reported every year with a high mortality rate owing to the delay in detection. At present, the diagnosing relies on oral examinations using a torch light to detect early stage cancers of the oral cavity. Oral potentially malignant lesions (OPMLs) often go undetected in the early stages in this method, and even experienced clinicians find it tough to locate the optimal site for a biopsy based on it. This leads to multiple biopsies, increased expenditure and false negative reports which can delay diagnosis and outcome,” said Dr Subhash Narayanan, CEO of Sascan.

OralScan is a Make In India initiative, with seed funding from the National Initiative for Developing and Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) scheme of the Department of Science and Technology (DST). OralScan has been designed and developed entirely in India, with support from the Biotechnology Ignition Grant of the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), the INVENT Program (DST) and the Kerala Start Up Mission. 

Sascan is ISO 13485 and CE certified.


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