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Pensievision Awarded $2M+ by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to perform clinical testing of a handheld, 3D imaging system for improved screening of cervical cancer.

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Pensievision, Inc., an imaging technology startup, was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Phase II grant for the project titled: “A Novel, Low-Cost, Handheld, 3D Imaging System for Improved Screening of Cervical Neoplasia in Resource Limited Settings.”

The proposal, submitted by a team led by Dr. Joseph Carson, received high acclaims from the review board, stating that the device has “an extremely innovative approach that has a potential to revolutionize this field” and that “this project is of high significance with a huge potential to positively impact healthcare.”

The 2-year grant is funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and will be used to complete research & development and conduct clinical testing of the device in 3 countries, including the US (at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine), Kenya (at the Aga Khan University), and Malawi (at the University of Science and Technology). Pensievision will also partner with the Virginia Tech Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics (BEAM) for coordinating global health activities and advancing technology components.

This Phase II grant comes after Pensievision successfully obtained in Phase I, in-vivo, anonymous, 3D images of the cervix during clinical tests performed at UC San Diego Health by Dr. Jessica Kingston, an Obstetrician/Gynecologist and Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences. 

Cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer among women globally, with an estimated 604,000 new cases and 342,000 deaths in 2020. About 90% of mortalities occurred in low- and middle-income countries where access to screening is limited.

“We spent years in research and development, so we are extremely excited to start clinical tests with patients in 3 countries,” said Dr. Joe Carson, the principal investigator on this grant and Pensievision’s Chief Technology Officer. Tal Almog, President of Pensievision, added: “Considering that less than 20% of NIH grant applications get funded, we are honored to receive our fourth grant supported by the federal government, which attests to the potential for Pensievision to enhance cancer screening and diagnostic techniques that could save lives.”

About Pensievision

Pensievision was founded by Dr. Joe Carson, Dr. YT Liu, Tal Almog, and Ben Carson, with the help of world-class experts in the fields of imaging, medicine, and business.

In 2022 the company completed the development of CervImage™, the world’s first handheld colposcope capable of producing real-time, 3D high-resolution images of the cervix, to assist in early-stage screening and analysis of cervical cancer.

Pensievision’s patented 3D optical imaging technology is unique in its approach of using astronomy imaging techniques, coupled with artificial intelligence, for imaging of lesions inside the body. The technology was developed leveraging Dr. Carson’s extensive experience in extraterrestrial imaging, including his discovery of a ‘super-Jupiter’, and of the coldest imaged companion of a sun-like star (for which he was recognized as ‘TIME magazine top 10 science discoveries of 2009’).

The company is currently working to develop additional medical applications for its 3D imaging technology, including imaging of skin lesions, and lesions in the esophagus and pharynx.

Recently, Pensievision has begun developing non-medical applications for industrial inspections, nondestructive testing, and aerospace. A prototype imaging device designed for microsatellites, to monitor biological payloads in space, is currently undergoing simulated space environment testing and is planned to be launched into space within the next couple of years.

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Tamia Sumpter

Tamia is a driven senior undergraduate Bioengineering student currently enrolled at Clemson University. With a strong foundation in her field, she has honed her skills through hands-on experience in research and development at Eli Lilly & Company. During her time in the ADME department, Tamia contributed significantly by working on siRNAs and their applications in finding In Vitro-In Vivo Correlation (IVIVC). Looking ahead, Tamia has set her sights on a promising career in law. She aspires to specialize in Intellectual Property Law, with a particular focus on serving as in-house counsel for leading medical device or pharmaceutical companies. Her enthusiasm for this role is palpable as she prepares to embark on her legal journey! She is also a proud member of the Omicron Phi chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., PEER Mentor for Clemson PEER/WiSE, and currently serves as the President of Clemson Bioengineering Organization (CBO). With her unique blend of scientific knowledge and legal interests, Tamia is poised to make a meaningful impact in the healthcare and life sciences industries.