The Vodafone America Foundation has awarded $300,000 for the collaborative development and testing of a smartphone-based cervical cancer diagnostic tool by MobileOCT, Scripps Health, the International Community Foundation (ICF) and Fronteras Unidas Pro Salud.
Vodafone America presented the team’s first place award as part of their 2014 Vodafone Americas Foundation Wireless Innovation Project™ competition on May 29 at the Social Innovation Summit at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Scripps Clinic gynecologist Bruce Kahn, MD, will lead testing efforts through Scripps in San Diego and Fronteras Unidas Pro Salud in Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico. The International Community Foundation will serve as the project’s fiscal sponsor and provide additional technical expertise given the foundation’s previous involvement in a multi-year mobile health clinical study in Tijuana.
Cervical cancer is the number one cause of cancer death for women in low-resource settings, worldwide. In the developed world, women ages 21 to 65 undergo routine cervical cancer screening (known as a Pap test) at their gynecologist or gynecological clinic.
According to the American Association of Family Physicians, approximately 55 million women each year have a Pap test in the US, and approximately 4 million women each year have an abnormal result. Women with abnormal Pap tests return for a colposcopy, in which the cervix is examined microscopically and biopsies are performed. Treatment, if necessary, can then be provided. However, it is estimated by the World Health Organization that 85 percent of women worldwide do not have adequate access to any cervical cancer screening.
About 473,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year, and 253,500 will die from the disease. However, because cervical cancer usually takes 20 years to develop it can be treated before it becomes life threatening for less than $28 and in just a few minutes.“We are deeply privileged to be recognized by Vodafone Americas’ Wireless Innovation Project, and will use this first place prize to bring our low-cost cancer screening technology to the women who need it most,” said Ariel Beery, CEO of MobileOCT. “Thanks to the support of Vodafone, our team is positioned to demonstrate the potential of using mobile health solutions to offer cost effective, life-saving diagnostics to the billions of women around the world without access to good reproductive health services.”
“Through efforts like this one, Scripps is playing a leading role in translating the latest medical technologies into high-quality, cost-effective diagnostic tools and treatments,” Dr. Kahn said. “I am privileged to be a part of this outstanding partnership.”
“The International Community Foundation looks forward to collaborating with MobileOCT, Scripps and Fronteras Unidas Pro Salud in this innovative cross-border clinical effort. The multi-sector collaboration exemplifies the way in which the organizations are working together to advance our common commitment to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer in the San Diego-Tijuana border region and around the world,” said Richard Kiy, president of ICF.
Learn more about Scripps Health, an integrated health care system in San Diego, Calif.