A screening device which could improve the detection of cervical cancer has been awarded £125,000 in funding via Medtech Accelerator.
Although HPV screening has led to a significant reduction in cervical cancer, current approaches have a low positive-predictive, which means many women are unnecessarily referred for secondary testing and possible treatment.
By allowing women to be diagnosed in the community in one test, it is hoped to reduce further testing referrals and possible unnecessary treatment, saving critical NHS time and money.
The Cervical Patch Screening Device has been developed to improve detection results by enabling non-invasive evaluation of all the cells at the cervical surface while preserving their orientation.
A novel approach to cervical screening, it is the result of a collaboration between a team of researchers based at Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Cambridge.
Medtech Accelerator is a joint venture led by HEE, in partnership with the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Local Growth Fund administered by Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, the Eastern AHSN (Academic Health Science Network) and Essex County Council. This latest grant means that, since its inception in 2016, Medtech Accelerator has now fully committed £1.7 million of funding to 14 life-enhancing technologies.
This collaborative structure means that unmet clinical needs within the NHS can be accurately pinpointed and medtech innovations that offer solutions to these problems can be fast-tracked to market.
Funding is intended to support innovations through the early stages of development, and for this innovation, the £125,000 award will support design and development to deliver a working prototype of the patch sampling device.
The project will be separated into four phases of work, with the first phase ensuring prototype plans are suitable for testing on mannequins and other models in the next two phases. The fourth stage of the project will include health economic and regulatory assessments, as well as patenting.
Lead inventor on the project, Dr. Robin Crawford, Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (CUH), said: “The cervical patch sampler provides a significant possibility to improve cervical screening by introducing a pain-free test, using our better understanding of the science underlying the evolution of cervical cancer and incorporating a biomarker and machine learning process to provide rapid reliable results.
“Following impressive news about the efficacy of the HPV vaccine in reducing cervical cancer, we need a leap forward in the screening technology in cervical cancer management such as the cervical patch sampler.”
Commenting on the latest award granted by Medtech Accelerator, Dr Anne Blackwood, CEO of HEE, said: “We are so pleased to add this new technology to the Medtech Accelerator’s impressive portfolio of ground-breaking medical devices supported over the last four years. The new approach to cervical patch sampling has real potential to further improve cervical cancer screening, and we look forward to seeing the benefits it brings to both clinicians and patients.”