New project: Improving the specificity of HPV Screen-and-Treat in South Africa

31 Oct 2014 - 11:30

There are stark global disparities in cervical cancer morbidity and mortality most especially in sub-Saharan Africa where this largely preventable cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer death. Although prevention of cervical cancer though cytology-based screening is a success story of cancer prevention in developed countries, this success has not been repeated in low and middle income countries (LMIC). 

What is required in developing countries is a simple, inexpensive screening point-of-care (POC) test that is both sensitive enough to identify most women with cervical cancer precursors and yet specific enough to ensure that we do not overtreat too many women at low risk of developing cervical cancer.

The aim of this study is to adapt a point-of-care HPV test developed by Cepheid, making it more suitable for screen and treat approaches in low and middle income countries. Cepheid, a US based biotech company, has pioneered POC testing and is respected for their POC tests for tuberculosis and drug resistance. The project has the support of the provincial and national departments of health.

The research will be conducted in two phases over a 5-year period and is being funded by the National Institutes of Health through the National Cancer Institute in the USA.

University of Cape Town

Lynette Denny

Jennifer Moodley

Rakiya Saidu

Rosalind Boa

Ayesha Sasman

Columbia University

Louise Kuhn
Ana Tergas
Thomas C. Wright, Jr


Scott Campbell
David Persing