In a previous blog, dated January 3rd, we discussed the outcomes from meetings conducted during our trip to India in December 2011. One of the meetings discussed took place with the Chief Strategic Advisor to the Wellcome Trust’s Affordable Healthcare in India Initiative. Of critical importance in those discussions was gaining a better understanding of the timeline and process for submission and acceptance of grant proposals to the initiative. He explained from his perspective how our previous submission never made it to the review process.
After a brief demonstration of capabilities and an explanation of the underlying technologies of TBDx, he strongly advised that we resubmit our proposal to the Wellcome Trust. It was further agreed that Signature Mapping be listed in the proposal as Co-Principal Investigator so that he could communicate directly with us as the process advanced.
On January 24, 2012, along with our partner, the LRS Institute of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases (New Delhi), we jointly submitted a preliminary application for funding to the Wellcome Trust. Under the Wellcome Trust published schedule, preliminary applications were due no later than January 31, 2012 with final award in June 2012.
Development of Automated Tuberculosis Detection Algorithms for Improved Sensitivity Using Ziehl-Neelsen (ZN) Smear Microscopy
Hypothesis: Deploying algorithmic detection solutions in a fully automated slide and image management solution will significantly improve the sensitivity of smear microscopy and lower the number of ‘false negatives’ currently experienced in routine smear microscopy involving human diagnostic interpretation.
Through the integration of state-of-the-art digital image processing science and the leveraging of an embedded technology (microscope), Signature Mapping Medical Sciences (SMMS) has developed a new diagnostic platform for smear microscopy. This fully integrated hardware-software solution compensates for the variability in staining quality, technician levels of training and experience, as well as human factors such as eye fatigue and tedium by providing a fully automated, fully integrated, feature rich solution that is intuitive, icon-driven and user-friendly. At present, the Signature Mapping TBDx (TBDx) solution is capable of providing highly sensitive diagnosis of tuberculosis under auramine staining conditions, but is limited to providing high-quality digital images for human interpretation under ZN staining conditions. This project would expand the capabilities of the current technological platform to provide automated diagnosis and case load severity of tuberculosis (TB) using ZN smears.