Intelligent bra to detect breast cancer
Researchers from Switzerland and France have started to develop a brassiere that detects breast cancer at an early stage. Such a smart bra would be considerably cheaper than a mammography, a fact that would benefit women in impoverished countries in particular.
According to the group of researchers, breast cancer is the number one cause of deaths among women between the ages of 40 and 50. Worldwide, an estimated 627,000 women died of breast cancer in 2018, and approximately one million new cases were diagnosed. In Switzerland alone, some 6000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer last year and 1372 died. In 90 percent of cases, the illness is curable if detected at an early stage.
The ultimate goal of the SBra project is an intelligent bra equipped with sensors that is capable of effectively detecting breast cancer early, conveniently, and without posing a health risk. In the first step, the 30 scientists from five different institutions and companies will determine whether there are any existing technologies that are capable of achieving this goal.
The Swiss participants include Neuchâtel-based csem, a private, non-profit organization for research and technology, and ZTC Technology in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a company that produces medical equipment.
Within the framework of the European cooperation program INTERREG France-Switzerland, the project will receive upwards of one million Swiss francs in funding over a period of two years. In addition, almost CHF 400,000 will be provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The Swiss federal government is contributing around CHF 160,000 and the canton of Neuchâtel CHF 156,000.