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2023 in Review: India's Tech Breakthroughs in Cancer Care

Written by : Jayati Dubey

January 2, 2024

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As the burden of cancer continues to escalate globally, India is at the forefront of a transformative era in cancer care. The projected cancer burden for 2021 was a staggering 26.7 million, expected to soar to 29.8 million in 2025. Traditional treatments such as chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation, while effective, often pose limitations and side effects. However, India is witnessing a paradigm shift, with a surge in technological innovations that leverage artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and cutting-edge medical devices.

AI Unleashes Precision in Cancer Detection

In this article, we’ve captured the recent AI-backed innovations that contributed immensely to dealing with cancer care.

Fujifilm’s NURA Health Centres

Japanese firm Fujifilm Corporation is leading the charge in India's AI-powered cancer screening with NURA health centres. These state-of-the-art facilities, equipped with AI systems, effectively screen for ten common cancers, including breast, oral, cervical, stomach, colon, lung, prostate, laryngeal, oesophagal, and early signs of leukaemia. The NURA centres, already operational in Gurugram and Bengaluru, are set to expand across India with a substantial investment of over $200 million. The AI-centric approach aims to address the challenge of late-stage cancer diagnoses by promoting a culture of prioritised health screening, echoing Japanese principles.

Ethos Radiotherapy at AOI

The American Oncology Institute (AOI) in Hyderabad introduced Ethos Radiotherapy, a groundbreaking AI-integrated solution for personalised cancer treatments. Utilising Varian's IDENTIFY technology, Ethos adapts to real-time patient anatomy and tumour location changes, ensuring precise radiation targeting. This patient-centric approach prioritises well-being by minimising radiation exposure to healthy tissues. The combination of adaptive therapy and surface-guided motion management enhances treatment effectiveness, revolutionising cancer care.

Qure.ai's Breast Cancer Breakthrough

Third in this series of AI-enabled cancer care treatments is Qure.ai. The startup in collaboration with French firm Therapixel, spearheads breast cancer detection with MammoScreen® technology. This AI-powered tool significantly enhances early breast cancer detection, aiding radiologists in reading mammography exams efficiently. By integrating MammoScreen® into its portfolio, Qure.ai provides a comprehensive imaging AI solution covering lung and breast cancer. The partnership aims to improve breast cancer detection accuracy globally, ensuring earlier diagnoses and better patient outcomes.

ETHOS Linear Accelerator at Reliance Foundation Hospital

Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital introduced India's first ETHOS Linear Accelerator, marking a revolutionary stride in cancer care. Manufactured by Varian, this cutting-edge technology combines advanced imaging, real-time AI, and adaptive treatment planning. ETHOS enables personalised treatment plans based on dynamic changes in tumour shape and size, ensuring precise targeting while minimising radiation exposure to healthy tissues. The adaptive treatment planning feature allows real-time adjustments, optimising treatment outcomes and reducing potential side effects.

AstraZeneca’s AI-Based Lung Cancer Screening in Karnataka

The Karnataka government collaborated with AstraZeneca Pharma India to implement AI-based lung cancer screening technology developed by health tech startup Qure.ai. This innovative system screens patients for 29 different lung diseases in a single chest X-ray, addressing the challenge of early detection. With the incidence of cancer steadily rising in Karnataka, this initiative aims to enhance early diagnosis, especially for economically disadvantaged patients, by leveraging AI-based chest X-ray technology.

IIIT-Hyderabad's Smartphone Approach

The International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT-Hyderabad) and INAI unveiled an AI-powered smartphone approach for early oral cancer screening. This model uses AI and smartphone capabilities to detect abnormal lesions before they evolve into malignant conditions. Traditional clinical assessments are subjective, but this AI-backed smartphone model offers a cost-effective, consistent, and easily accessible solution. The research, titled 'AI-Assisted Screening of Potentially Malignant Disorders,' showcases promising results with an 'F1 score' of over 70%, highlighting its potential for early detection and improved patient prognosis.

Roche Pharma India’s Mobile App

The Indian Cancer Society, in partnership with Roche Pharma India, introduced the 'Rise against Cancer' mobile app. This multilingual app, available on Android and iOS platforms, offers comprehensive support and information on oral, breast, cervical, and lung cancer. Empowering patients, caregivers, and healthcare professionals, the app provides curated content, a supportive community, and access to the latest information about cancer types, causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment options. 'Rise Against Cancer' aims to make the fight against cancer a matter of choice, not chance.

Elekta Harmony Pro Radiotherapy Platform in Jaipur

Jaipur's HealthCare Global Enterprises (HCG) Cancer Centre introduced the Elekta Harmony Pro Radiotherapy Platform, the first of its kind in North India. This advanced linear accelerator system delivers precise and efficient radiation therapy tailored to each patient's unique needs. The integration of precision, speed, and comfort enhances targeted radiation therapy, reduces side effects, and improves the overall quality of life for cancer patients across North India.

Elekta Versa HD Platform in Ranchi

HCG Abdur Razzaque Ansari Cancer Hospital in Ranchi adopted the Elekta Versa HD Platform, offering a comprehensive system for delivering external radiation therapy for various cancers. Equipped with high-dose-rate delivery and motion adjustment technology, this platform simplifies treatment planning, improves therapy effectiveness, and accelerates recovery. Anatomically connected 4D imaging enhances the precise targeting of mobile lung malignancies, showcasing the hospital's commitment to advancing cancer care in Jharkhand.

Smart Medical Devices Transforming Cancer Care

The following are a few smart medical devices launched by different healthcare companies that are bringing positive changes in the realm of cancer care.

Digital PET CT Machine at Fortis Cancer Institute

Fortis Cancer Institute in Gurugram introduced the Digital Biograph Vision 450, a state-of-the-art Digital PET CT machine. This innovative technology sets a new benchmark in cancer diagnostics, conducting whole-body PET CT scans at double the speed of conventional scanners. The machine's flow motion technology and multi-parametric imaging enhance accuracy by over 70% while reducing radiation exposure to patients by more than four times.

Da Vinci Robotic Systems at MNJ Cancer Hospital

The government-run MNJ Cancer Hospital in Hyderabad has installed Da Vinci Robotic Systems to treat cancer patients free of cost. These advanced robotic systems offer precision in surgery, translating the surgeon's hand movements in real time. The tiny wrist-like instruments, controlled by the doctor, move with great precision, enabling the removal of tumours in tricky locations. This initiative, which was conducted free of cost along with a health insurance scheme, exemplifies the hospital's commitment to providing advanced cancer treatment to economically disadvantaged patients.

4D-CT Simulator at Kalyan Singh Super Specialty Hospital

Kalyan Singh Super Specialty Hospital in Lucknow unveiled a new 4D-CT simulator machine for treating cancerous tumours. This technology provides precise treatment for tumours that move with respiration, offering accurate mapping and enhanced effectiveness in cancer treatment. This technique in planning radiation therapy for cases where large doses are administered in very few fractions, setting a new standard of care for mam tumours including liver cancer, lung cancer, and pancreatic cancer.

Wrapping Up

In 2023, India stands at the forefront of cancer care innovation, leveraging AI, cutting-edge treatment platforms, and innovative medical devices. These advancements not only address the challenges of cancer detection and treatment but also prioritise accessibility and affordability. The collaborative efforts of government initiatives, healthcare institutions, and tech-driven startups reflect a concerted commitment to transforming the landscape of cancer care in the country. As technology continues to evolve, these breakthroughs are poised to make a significant impact, offering hope to millions grappling with the burden of cancer and paving the way for a healthier future.


About Chime India

The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME) is an executive organization dedicated to serving senior digital health leaders. CHIME includes more than 5,000 members in 56 countries and two US territories and partners with over 150 healthcare IT businesses and professional services firms. CHIME enables its members and business partners to collaborate, exchange ideas, develop professionally and advocate the effective use of information management to improve the health and care throughout the communities they serve. CHIME's members are chief information officers (CIOs), chief medical information officers (CMIOs), chief nursing information officers (CNIOs), chief innovation officers (CIOs), chief digital officers (CDOs), and other senior healthcare leaders. The CHIME India Chapter became the first international chapter outside North America in 2016 and is now a community of over 70+ members in India. For more information, please visit www.chimecentral.org

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