A team of scientists at the National Nanotechnology Center (NANOTEC) have successfully designed INSpectDx, currently a prototype digital colposcopy system for detecting cervical cancer. This portable system allows real-time display, recording and transmission of images taken during the procedure.
Dr. Kittipong Tantisantisom, one of the researchers at NANOTEC’s Integrated Nanosystem Lab, said, “Hospital and clinics in rural areas often lack the necessary tools and equipment to detect and analyze cervical cancer in their early stages.” Through INSpectDx, imaging data obtained in rural areas can wirelessly and rapidly reach more adept health facilities, ultimately facilitating more accurate, earlier diagnoses and timelier initiation of treatment.
It was during the August 18-20 Thai Medi Fair in Bangkok that INSpectDx held a soft launch. The system’s prototype will also be presented to the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital Mahidol University to conduct further field tests.
About cervical cancer
Cervical cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer in women. It is characterized by an abnormal cell growth in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus. While practically no symptoms appear at early stages of cervical cancer, during advanced stages of the disease patients usually suffer from pain in the lower part of the abdomen, vaginal bleeding and discharge, weight loss due to lack of appetite, fatigue, back pain, swollen legs and even bone fractures.
Several factors have been implicated in the development of cervical cancer. These include infection with varying types of human papilloma virus (HPV), occurring in 75% of affected patients, active/passive cigarette smoking, long term use of oral contraceptives and multiple pregnancies. Nevertheless, the detailed mechanisms by which cervical cancer develops are unknown.
Uterine cervical cancer arises from the cervix and is associated with human papillomavirus (HPV) infection in more than 90% of the cases. Although this link is established, doctors still don’t understand why some women have an risk of developing this disease which is the second most common cancer worldwide. A recent systematic review and meta-analysis, a type of study that tries to aggregate all present scientific knowledge about one particular question, published in the PLOS ONE journal, gives new insights on one plausible risk factor.