Colorectal Cancer (CRC) is the second most frequent malignant disease and the second deadliest cancer in Europe. CRC is a highly treatable cancer if detected early. Mass screening saves lives but due to the expensive process has a low participation rate.
The gold-standard for non-invasive CRC screening is the Faecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT). Cancerous tumours and some large polyps bleed intermittently into the intestine. This blood can be detected in stool by using the FOBT kit. This is a highly uncomfortable procedure for the majority of patients as they need to handle and store often multiple faecal samples. When physicians are asked what the main barriers to FOBT are, 93.9% of them confirm: “Patient embarrassment/anxiety”.
The ambition of SOFT Medical is to deliver a CRC mass screening tool finally able to solve FOBT’s shortcomings. Their solution relies on the optical signature of occult blood (blood invisible to the naked eye in faeces) in order to assess the presence of CRC. The unique light absorption and reflection properties of blood are well documented in the scientific literature. The SOFT device leverages such uniqueness to provide accurate and immediate results.
Using SOFT is as easy as using a smartphone camera: simply point at the sample and shoot a picture, the image processing software does the rest. Eliminating the behavioural barrier is expected to increase by 67% the number of people carrying out the tests and, in turn, an increase in early detection rates of CRC.
In addition to detecting occult blood, SOFT provides information about blood origin and spatial distribution, which provides further supporting information of the bleeding eliminating the vast majority of false positives.