Ahh the pap smear. The daunting, uncomfortable and downright annoying process of having a cervical swab taken to be tested for cancerous or precancerous cells, only to be repeated in 3-5 years time.
Despite being an important aspect of women’s health – COVID-19, uncomfortable gyno appointments, and misinformation means that booking in for that test can oftentimes fall by the wayside.
In Australia, our government is all over it with the National Cervical Screening Program which has seen the incidence of and mortality rates from cervical cancer half since the program’s inception in 1991.
Recalls, reminders and public health campaigns make it that bit harder to forget or put off. However, relatively low screening rates remain with only 46% of eligible women aged 25-74 getting a screen between 2018-2019.
Countries with less infrastructure for mass public health initiatives struggle even more with consistent testing. Unsurprisingly the countries with the highest rates of cervical cancer are the African countries of Swaziland and Malawi.
There is an evident need for a rapid testing solution to address a very real issue for half of the world’s population.
Truscreen (ASX: TRU) is a company doing just that. They have developed a cervical cancer screening device that does not rely on external laboratory infrastructure. A digital wand is placed on the surface of the cervix to measure electrical and optical signals from tissues. An algorithm then evaluates the signals for detection of precancerous change or cervical intraepithelial neoplasia.
The test addresses many of the challenges that cervical screening tests present including failed samples and long wait times for the test results.
The device is CE marked for use across Europe and is available for sale in China. It is already available and registered in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland.
Truscreen has today announced the receipt of their first purchase order for 6 cervical cancer screening devices, which will be shipped July 2021 to Serbia.
Serbia has a total population of 9 million with approximately 3 million women.
Dr. Ivan Imre, Truescreen’s Commercial Lead for Centre and Eastern Europe said: “This is an exciting development to see out real time Truscreen cervical cancer screening device being approved by the Serbiua health regulator for active marketing by our Serbian distributor.”
Juliet Hull CEO of Truscreen said: “ After being in Central and Eastern Europe since mid-2020, Ivan and the team have focused on identifying markets within the region to open the market for our Truscreen cervical cancer screening device. These activities were conducted during the COVID-19 environment. I am looking forward to further breakthroughs in other markets within the CEE region.”
Additionally, Truscreen has also filed product registrations for Croatia, Slovenia, Macedonia and Bosnia Herzegovina and hopes to develop these markets.
The target market for their digital cervical screening tool is low to middle income countries (LMICs) without large scale systems and infrastructure to support public health. These countries include China, Mexico, Africa, Russia and India, to name a few.