QIAGEN and the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI) have announced a collaboration to establish the first large-scale cervical cancer screening program for women in Kolkata, India.
QIAGEN 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.
“This project is a great demonstration of how our advanced screening solutions can bring state of the art healthcare to women in all regions of the globe. Kolkata, India is a particularly fitting location to launch this project as India has the world’s highest incidence rate of cervical cancer. We believe that launching this project can play a role in helping to change those statistics,” said Mr. Peer Schatz, CEO of QIAGEN.
“Through the QIAGENcares Kolkata collaboration we will increase awareness about cervical cancer prevention and make screening more accessible, two vital ingredients in the effort to reduce cervical cancer rates. Also, we are looking forward to demonstrating the combination of cost effectiveness and enormous value for healthcare that QIAGEN’s state of the art cervical cancer screening solutions can bring to a setting such as the one in Kolkata.”
The Kolkata screening project is a part of QIAGENcares, the company’s corporate social responsibility program focused on improving health by providing access to screening methods for infectious diseases in emerging and developing countries.
“We are pleased to work with QIAGEN on this cervical cancer screening project. We here at the CNCI see first-hand how serious a threat cervical cancer is to the health of women locally and to Indian society as a whole. We hope this collaboration will help raise awareness of the issue and set an example for other screening projects in the future,” said Dr. Jaydip Biswas, Director, CNCI.
The cervical cancer screening program is 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.
QIAGEN’s HPV test platform – known as the digene HPV Test – uses advanced molecular diagnostic technologies to identify the presence of the genetic code (DNA) of 13 high-risk, cancer-causing types of HPV.