Credit: Bulmario Tapia / Facebook
Seventeen-year-old Julian Rios Cantu just brought home $20,000 from the Global Student Entrepreneur Awards for his invention: EVA, a bra that uses biosensors to detect early signs of breast cancer.
EVA, which earned Rios Cantu the title of best enterprising student in the world, is expected to help diagnose women predisposed to breast cancer. Though EVA is the result of more than a year of research, and the aid of several great minds, Cantu’s journey with breast cancer began when it nearly killed someone very close to him.
Rios Cantu was only 13 when his mother, Graciela, was first diagnosed with breast cancer.
— DIRH (@DIRHMx) April 30, 2017
Though her first diagnosis was caught early, El Universal reported, doctors still had to remove her breast to fight off the cancer. Her second diagnosis was caught at a late stage, causing her and her family to endure the effects of intense treatment. To save her life, doctors removed her other breast. In Mexico, Graciela’s story is not uncommon. As Infobae reported, in Mexico, a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer every 30 minutes, according to the Ministry of Health.
As El Universal reported, a major problem in Mexico is that the resources for diagnosis are limited as compared to the potential number of patients.
At the age of 17, Rios Cantu formed Higia Technologies with three other friends.
With the help of his friend, Rios Cantu, an engineering student and Higia’s CEO and co-founder, spent more than a year developing the technology necessary to make EVA a reality. According to Higia, the “Breast cancer detection bra” is “equipped with tactile sensors to map the surface of the breast and the surrounding areas.” The biosensors measure temperature, and because tumors require blood, it leads to increased blood flow, which creates a higher temperature in the affected breast.
The bra collects data for analysis on app or computer, Infobae reported.
In order to collect data, the user is expected to wear EVA once a week for 60 to 90 minutes at a time. Rios Cantu explained the motivation for using the bra versus using more traditional methods, saying that a breast self-exam allows for human error that can lead to death. On the other hand, the bra takes into account variables like breast temperature, color, and roughness, and analyzes the data through software to give a diagnosis, El Universal reported.
While EVA is expected to help patients receive an early diagnosis, Dr. Enrique Bargello believes that one of the main challenges facing women in Mexico is education. Early diagnosis is very important for one’s survival and education play a key role in that. For more information, click here.