The young Catalan biomedical engineer Judit Giró, graduated (formed or graduated) by the University of Barcelona, He is now stepping on the gas next to the University of California at Irvine, where he studied for a master’s degree in Embedded Cyber-physical Systems (Embedded cyber-physical systems) knew from a young age that biology and mathematics were going to play a fundamental role in his life.
Giró has developed a revolutionary device, The Blue Box. This device could diagnose breast cancer through a urine sample at home. The Blue Box has served him to receive the International Award The James Dyson Award, endowed with 35,000 euros. The device designed by the Catalan analyzes human urine and detects cancer with a classification rate of more than 95%.
The Blue Box tests for certain compounds in urine for signs of breast cancer. For a few minutes, it does a chemical analysis of the sample and sends the results to the cloud, where an algorithm based on artificial intelligence is executed. This leads to a diagnosis that is communicated through an application on the mobile.
The 24-year-old researcher focused on how to diagnose breast cancer in a less invasive and expensive way to prevent many women from skipping tests. The first prototype was done in 2017 as a final degree project. Giró explained that the hypothesis was demonstrated that the analysis of metabolites performed in urine is significant enough to classify patients between control subjects and patients with metastatic breast cancer.
In order to test the device, 90 human urine samples were collected from control subjects and patients with breast cancer at the Sant Joan de Reus Hospital. A sensitivity of 75% was achieved. The second prototype, developed at the University of California where the young woman works, achieves a 95% rating.
Now it is waiting for the ethics committee of the University of California to approve the protocol and to begin collecting urine samples from patients before they are diagnosed. This will allow us to know the real diagnostic capacity in patients with earlier stage breast tumors. The goal is for the device to be in the final prototype phase in two years, ready for human studies and clinical trials.
It should be remembered that Giró worked on his final degree project in a system that simulated the operation of a dog’s nose for cancer detection. It did so using sensors and microprocessors. “That project motivated me a lot and I decided to do a master’s degree in California.”
Already in the United States and as a final master’s thesis, he created The Blue Box together with his mentor. “Now I am working at the University and we are waiting for the ethics committee to approve the project,” Giró points out. The current prototype works well and is able to obtain a 95% success rate for advanced tumors, but in smaller tumors it did not obtain a satisfactory result.