- Press Release
- August 11, 2022
Breast Cancer Screening Aid Cleared for Diagnostic Use
Headquarters, Washington, DC
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
The war against breast cancer has a new weapon, thanks to an advanced sensor developed at NASA’s
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
The device, called the BioScan Syste, was developed by
OmniCorder Technologies, Inc., Stony Brook, NY. OmniCorder
received clearance to market the system from the Food and Drug
Administration in December 1999.
Studies have determined that cancer cells exude nitric oxide. This causes changes in blood flow in tissue
that can be detected by the sensor. The BioScan Syste is
sensitive to temperature changes of less than .027 degree
Fahrenheit (.015 degree Celsius) and has a speed of over 200
frames per second. It causes no discomfort to the patient and
uses no ionizing radiation.
“Clearance for use of this noninvasive diagnostic tool is an important milestone for us,” said OmniCorder
president and CEO Mark Fauci, who noted that the device has also been cleared to be marketed for other
The sensor, called the Quantum Well Infrared Photodetector (QWIP), was invented by Dr. Sarath
Gunapala, principal engineer of JPL’s device research and applications section. The digital
sensor detects the infrared energy emitted from the body, thus
“seeing” the minute differences associated with blood flow changes. Earlier versions of QWIP had potential
such as locating hot spots during fires and observing volcanoes.
“It is a great pleasure to see something I invented being used for public benefit,” said Gunapala,
“especially in medicine and even more so in the early detection of cancer.”
The BioScan Syste also uses Dynamic Area Telethermometr,
invented by Dr. Michael Anbar, founding scientist of OmniCorder. The two technologies work together to
image the target area and to provide the physician with immediate diagnostic information.
The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA.
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