LED Medical Diagnostics Inc. (“LED Medical”, “the Company”), said today that the huge global need for earlier detection of oral cancer suggests significant long-term growth potential for its VELscope® Vx Enhanced Oral Assessment System.
According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, nearly 42,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. However, that is just over 8 percent of the approximately 640,000 people diagnosed annually on a worldwide basis. LED Medical Diagnostics developed its VELscope® adjunctive technology to help clinicians detect oral cancer and other oral disease in early stages, and it is now the world’s most frequently used technology for that purpose. Despite this accomplishment, the company feels its technology has barely scratched the surface of its clinical and commercial potential.
“Since the launch of our first generation VELscope® system in 2006, our primary focus has been the United States and Canadian markets,” said Peter Whitehead, founder and CEO of LED Medical Diagnostics and its subsidiary, LED Dental. “While these markets still hold great growth potential for us, the fact is that they represent only a small percentage of the global need for our technology.” He estimates that while just under 10 percent of American and Canadian dental practices have a VELscope® system, the technology has penetrated well under one percent of all practices globally.
The percentage of oral cancer patients who ultimately die of the disease is higher than for many other cancers. The reason: in most cases, oral cancer is discovered in late stages, when the five-year survival rate is approximately 50 percent. When discovered early, however, the survival rate leaps to about 83%. Clinical studies and feedback from practicing dentists indicate that when used in conjunction with the conventional oral examination (comprising visual inspection and palpation), VELscope’s® adjunctive technology can help clinicians detect early stage oral cancer and other disease that otherwise might have been missed.
Many oral cancer patients in overseas markets live in countries where tobacco usage and excessive alcohol usage — two major risk factors for oral cancer — can be much higher than in North America. “With our first and second generation VELscope® systems, the price was prohibitive for many overseas dental practices,” said Mr. Whitehead. “Now, however, our latest-generation VELscope® Vx is priced at roughly half the price of our earlier systems. When you combine that with its enhanced performance and cordless design, our world-leading technology is more affordable, effective and convenient than it has ever been.”