BioSciCon Completes Successful Feasibility Testing of New Universal Adapter Medical Device
BioSciCon, a company located on the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus, recently completed feasibility testing on a new universal adapter that will facilitate better use of cell phone cameras in capturing microscope images.
The Markpap Wireless Universal Adapter, for which a patent is pending, attaches a cell phone to a microscope eyepiece. It allows for what its inventor calls “x, y, z and d” movement, meaning that you can adjust the cell phone’s horizontal and vertical alignment as well as its depth in relation to the eyepiece and its angle. The device’s ability to act in place of a human hand – and to do so while correcting for potential human error – is part of what makes it unique and particularly valuable.
As for its use, inventor Nenad Markovic, M.D., Ph.D Founder and President of BioSciCon, said it is invaluable as you look at healthcare delivery in developing nations.
“Internet access is everywhere in the U.S., but that’s not the case in many other parts of the world, such as India, China, and Eastern Europe,” Dr. Markovic said. “In contrast, cell phone availability is three times that of Internet access.”
And while the importance of Internet access in medical diagnosis may not be immediately clear, Dr. Markovic is quick to explain how much of a difference such a small piece of equipment may make to women around the world.
“Five years ago, I had to find 50 cervical cancer cases as part of an FDA approval process,” he said. “I couldn’t find them in the U.S. I had to go to Europe.”
The reason is that cervical cancer rates are dropping in the U.S. because of early detection by well-trained cytotechnicians and cytopathologists. But engaging such a professional is an expensive proposition A cytotechnician requires college plus two years of specialized training. And cytopathologists complete college plus four years of medical school, plus four years of pathology training, plus two years of specialized cytopathology training. As a result, salaries for these individuals are high. And for many areas outside the U.S., cost prohibitive.
“As a result, many women worldwide are receiving substandard screening when it comes to tests like pap smears that catch cancers such as cervical cancer in its early stages,” Dr. Markovic said. “All of this is leading to growing health disparities worldwide.
“The barrier isn’t the cost of the test,” he said. “It’s the cost of hiring qualified people to read the results.”
Enter the Markpap Wireless Universal Adapter. With the Adapter, a technician can use a cell phone to snap a good, high quality photo of the test results and then send that photo to a qualified cytopathologist anywhere in the world. The importance of the Adapter in the process is that it eliminates common “human” error such as hands that may move while taking a photo.
While Dr. Markovic uses cervical cancer diagnosis and cytopathologists as his example of the Adapter’s end users and its benefits to the worldwide health community, there’s no question that its reach will be much bigger. In fact, there are already commercial entities that have expressed interest in partnering with BioSciCon in the commercialization of this technology.