First Warning Systems, a company working on creating wearable sensors for early detection of breast cancer, has raised $560,000 according to CEO Rob Royea. First Warning Systems first announced a breast cancer sensing “smart bra” in late 2012, but faced challenges with development and marketing. Now, the company is using the same temperature-fluctuation sensors from the smart bra, but is instead putting them into a small device that can be inserted into users’ existing bras and connected to their smartphones.
CEO Rob Royea explains that it didn’t make sense to build the product into fabric “because [it] has to be reusable and wearable over a number of uses. It will be an insert that can work within different types of fabrics. It’s smartphone enabled now, smart device enabled. All the information goes directly into a big data backend.”
The sensor detects cancer by monitoring minuscule metabolic temperature changes caused by cancerous cells in a tumor. Temperature readings are sent to a global library and run through a proprietary algorithm and the results are then sent to a user’s phone. In small trials, the device has had a 74% correlation with mammograms and may work better than a mammogram in patients in the early stages of cancer or with dense breast tissue. First Warning Systems plans on filing for FDA Class II clearance within the next three weeks and two clinical trials are scheduled for July. First Warning Systems plans to launch its product in Singapore in early 2015, and Royea hopes launch in the U.S. by late 2015.
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