CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS — A U.S. startup company called NextGen Jane is developing smart tampons that can let users test themselves for STDs and other reproductive illnesses.
“I was trying to develop a way for women to monitor their own fertility at home, and those kinds of diagnostic tests require a lot of blood. So I was thinking about women and blood. When you put those words together, it becomes obvious. We have an opportunity every single month to collect blood from women, without needles,” Ridhi Tariyal, a Harvard graduate and the CEO of NextGen Jane told the New York Times.
Menstrual blood contains cells from the ovaries and uterus. NextGen Jane uses a 3D-printed prototype that extracts the blood from a tampon before medical tests are conducted outside the body.
The tests may be able to detect chlamydia, a disease that blocks the fallopian tubes and prevents fertilization. The device can also test for the human papilloma virus, which causes genital warts and cervical cancer. The company is also experimenting with testing the genomic changes in menstrual blood to examine polycystic ovarian syndrome, uterine fibroids and endometriosis, which is traditionally diagnosed by laparoscopic surgery.
The company is currently conducting clinical trials and a final product is expected to be completed in the next year.