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Announcing CITEC, a Center Established to Advance Equitable Early Cancer Detection

Point-Of-Care Innovation for Cancer Testing Led by a Collaboration of Seven Organizations

The Center for Innovation and Translation of POC Technologies for Equitable Cancer Care (CITEC) is an international collaboration between engineers, oncologists, and global health partners from Rice University, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine, the University of São Paulo, Barretos Cancer Hospital in Brazil, the Mozambique Ministry of Health, and Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo, Mozambique.

Each CITEC member contributes advanced research capabilities and resources to the shared purpose of developing effective point-of-care (POC) technologies to detect and treat cancers in diverse settings. The collaborative research team spans three continents and seven organizations, uniting a global community of investigators in advancing health equity in cancer diagnostics.

Equity in Early Cancer Detection

Most cancers can be cured if detected early and treated. However, currently available cancer testing can be complex and expensive, presenting barriers to care for medically underserved populations. The development of simple, POC cancer tests can improve access to cancer testing, lead to early cancer detection and treatment, and save lives.

With a grant from the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), CITEC  focuses on prioritizing unmet needs for affordable POC tests for oral, cervical, and gastrointestinal cancers as a way to close the global gaps in early cancer detection, treatment, and survival.

CITEC’s work is focused on identifying technologies needed for early cancer detection and treatment in diverse settings, accelerating the development of affordable technologies to meet these needs, evaluating clinical and public health impacts, and training developers and users of technologies on best practices for making equitable POC technologies available. CITEC’s three core research priorities are described below.

Technology Core

CITEC supports the prototyping of affordable technologies for early cancer detection. Designs are evaluated for usability and ease of manufacturing. CITEC technologies include imaging tools, molecular diagnostics, machine learning, artificial intelligence-based algorithm development, and POC mobile technology platforms.

Companies partnered with CITEC support the rapid translation of imaging-based or molecular assays to manufacturable platforms and deploy commercial products. CITEC works with developers to accelerate commercial prototypes and establish successful commercialization strategies that leverage resources within the Texas Medical Center and Brazil.

Clinical Core

CITEC evaluates the clinical performance, effectiveness, and usability of prototype POC technologies in real-world clinical settings. The POC technologies for cancer prevention and early detection are evaluated on their clinical impact, cost-effectiveness, and elimination of impediments to using technologies in diverse healthcare settings.

Dissemination Core

CITEC uses needs assessments to identify unmet clinical needs for cancer detection and treatment, including on-site visits to multiple global sites. The team is developing an implementation science roadmap from these visits and assessments that will guide the introduction of the POC technologies in low-resource settings, including training. CITEC training is meant for both technology developers and those using the technologies. By training both groups, CITEC can accelerate the development, evaluation, implementation, and commercialization of technologies for equitable cancer detection and treatment.

CITEC’s international, multi-disciplinary research team spans three continents and seven organizations. The team includes expertise in identifying, developing, evaluating, and disseminating effective POC cancer detection technologies for use in diverse settings. CITEC’s core research priorities represent prime opportunities to develop technologies for equitable early cancer detection and improve cancer survival worldwide.

Updates on supported research and advancements made by CITEC will be posted on 



CITEC Leadership

Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Rice University, Co-PI

Sharmila Anandasabapathy, Baylor College of Medicine, Co-PI

Tomasz Tkaczyk, Rice University, Co-PI

Vanderlei Bagnato, University of São Paulo, Brazil, Co-Lead Technology Core

Kathleen Schmeler, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Co-Lead Clinical Core

Cesaltina Lorenzoni, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane in Maputo, Mozambique, Co-Lead Clinical Core

Rebekah Drezek, Rice University, Co-Lead Dissemination Core

Mila Salcedo, UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Co-Lead Dissemination Core

Jane Montealegre, Baylor College of Medicine, Co-Lead Dissemination Core

Matthew Wettergreen, Rice University, Co-Lead Dissemination Core




About the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB): NIBIB’s mission is to improve health by leading the development and accelerating the application of biomedical technologies. The institute is committed to integrating the physical and engineering sciences with the life sciences to advance basic research and medical care. NIBIB supports emerging technology research and development within its internal laboratories and through grants, collaborations, and training. More information is available at the NIBIB website:

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit


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