QIAGEN and the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI) announced a collaboration to establish the first large-scale cervical cancer screening program for women in Kolkata, India.
QIAGEN (NASDAQ: QGEN, Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) will provide its diagnostic tests for the human papillomavirus (HPV) – the primary cause of cervical cancer. CNCI will conduct the screening and provide appropriate treatment as needed. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The “QIAGENcares Kolkata Project” will use QIAGEN’s hybrid capture 2 (hc2) HPV DNA testing technology (also known as the digene? HPV Test) to screen women for cancer-causing types of HPV to identify those with or at risk for developing cervical cancer.
Participating women will also be screened using VIA (visual inspection with acetic acid) as per the Indian National Guidelines for Cervical Screening. Screening will take place at community-based mobile field clinics in the villages neighboring Kolkata. Women found to have cervical cancer or pre-cancer will be immediately treated at the field clinic – a process referred to as “screen and treat” – or referred to the CNCI for follow up. The project also includes educational campaigns to raise awareness about HPV, cervical cancer, and other women’s health issues. The initiative will be conducted over 5 years and is expected to reach 50,000 women.
Despite being a preventable cancer with a known primary cause, cervical cancer claims nearly 300,000 lives every year – with 80% of these deaths occurring in developing countries. India has more cervical cancer cases than any other country in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every year more than 130,000 Indian women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 74,000 die from it. This makes cervical cancer the leading cause of cancer related deaths in India and represents approximately 1/4 of the world’s total cervical cancer cases and mortality.
The WHO estimates that only about 5 percent of women in the developing world have been screened for cervical disease in the previous five years, compared to 40-50 percent in the developed world.
The cervical cancer screening program will be officially launched at the opening ceremony of the 2009 Asia-Oceania Research Organization on Genital Infections and Neoplasia (AOGIN) conference in Kolkata on April 25-26. The first women are expected to be screened in June.
Source: QIAGEN, Netherlands