Non-invasive, Point-of-care Diagnostic System for Early Detection of Oral Cancer using Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging

Manashi Chakraborty, Dr. Santanu Patsa and Dr. Nishat Anjum received the award for the research project Non-invasive, Point-of-care Diagnostic System for Early Detection of Oral Cancer using Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging. She carried her research work under the guidance of  Dr. Sudipa Mukhopadhyay, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.

This project is the pioneering attempt to develop a non-invasive, non-ionizing, radiation hazard free, point-of-care computer aided diagnostic framework for oral cancer detection using machine intelligence and Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI). Oral cancer is the most common cancer in India where approximately 14 people die/hour. Patients are unable to avail diagnosis due to scarcity of state-of-the-art infrastructure and oral-pathologist. Patients are reluctant to go for invasive biopsy. All these along with absence of screening facility pose hindrance to early diagnosis. Due to abnormal metabolic activities in carcinogenic facial regions, heat signatures of patients are different from that of normal subjects. Asymmetry of temperature distribution was compared between facial regions (opposite sides of frontal image and between left and right profile images) for patients and normal subjects.

Disparity_AnalysisThe analysis suggested that patients manifest greater asymmetry compared to normal subjects. This project requires only a one-time investment of a long infrared thermal camera, image processing and machine learning software and a laptop/workstation. Thus, there is minimal resource requirement. Also, Digital Infrared Thermal Imaging (DITI) has no recurring or maintenance cost. The image acquisition protocol is so simple that even a high school student can acquire the images. It provides on-spot oralcancer screening facility and is portable. Thus, screening camps can be organised even in remote villages with minimal infrastructure. As DITI has no recurring cost, it can be scaled up to cater the huge population of developing countries like India.

Dr. Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, honored Manashi Chakraborty, Department of Medical Science & Technology, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, with the prestigious BIRAC-SRISTI Gandhian Young Technological Innovation (GYTI) Award 2017 at a function held at Rashtrapati Bhavan on March 5.


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