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It is likely that the next revolution in the detection of breast cancer comes from Mexico, from the hand of a scientist and entrepreneur of 18 years.
Julián Ríos Cantú invented EVA, a bra with biosensors that detects temperature changes in the sinuses and alerts of possible cancer.
The support is in the testing phase and Rios and the team of his company, Higia, are trying to release it for sale at the beginning of 2019, at an estimated cost of USD $ 120.
Julián Ríos explained why the battle against breast cancer was taken in such a personal way:
“My mother had breast cancer twice, and on the second time, the mammogram did not detect a stage 3 tumor and they had to do a double mastectomy, and I realized that the detection methods were very fallible and I started searching another solution, “he says.
In Mexico, according to official data, breast cancer represents 19 , 4% of all cases , with a mortality of 14.6 per 100,000 inhabitants. Most cases are detected in advanced stages.
EVA, the bra that he invented, is designed to be used one hour a week and is not a replacement for clinical studies, but is “a professionalization of self-exploration.”
He explains that the perception that people have of their bodies is very subjective. “This technology is objective, since the sensors detect precise data, in this case the temperature,” he says.
He says that when researching cancer in scientific studies, they knew that inflammatory processes increase the temperature of the breasts.
“So we train our devices with artificial intelligence to detect these changes and warn that there is some danger, ” explains the young native of Monterrey, Nuevo León, in northern Mexico.
According to their tests and with a database of about 1,500 people, EVA has managed to detect 89% of cases, compared to ultrasound, with 63% , he says.
EVA will be available for direct sale to users to monitor their results on their cell phones. In addition, Higia has signed agreements with institutions such as the Mexican Social Security Institute to use them in their reviews.
“Detecting cancer in the early stages is vital for its rapid treatment and for more women to be saved,” he says.
Julián Ríos Cantú works with his team in a luxurious office that was lent to them as part of the National Entrepreneur Student Award, organized by the Entrepreneur’s Organization.
The big leap to make your project a reality was when they won the global competition in Germany, the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards in May 2017.
In the world’s largest competition of university entrepreneurs, his project was the first among more than 700 out of 52 countries.
“That’s when everyone turned to see us, private investment began to arrive and large organizations came to us to do clinical research, and now we collaborate with institutions such as the Stanford University School of Medicine, ” he says.
Although it has not been long, it has lagged far behind when it discriminates ban for his age.
“The first time I called an oncologist, he hung up the phone and told me that a child was not going to tell him how to do his job,” Julián says with a mischievous laugh that he rarely lets out. It is almost always very serious and professional.
“My mother is very proud of me, but she also cares, we work 14 hours a day and this enterprise has taken control of our youth, ” she says.
The field of biosensors is so young that “there are no experienced people, we are experienced people ,” he says.
Although they are now focused on the production of the EVA bra, with the same technology, Higia plans two more longer-term products.
AQUILES, a mat that would help measure the blood flow in the diabetic foot and prevent amputations , and ADAM, an insert in men’s underwear that will work just like EVA to detect testicular cancer .
“They say that to undertake is to arrive at the right time,” explains Antonio Torres, head of technology at Higia. And he adds that just a few years ago there was no technology that made the support possible, such as sensors or flexible material.
“We had a series of factors that combined in our favor: our age, knowing those materials and wanting to fight against breast cancer,” says the 21-year-old.