A new diagnostic system by Mel-Mont Medical that allows women to collect cervical cell samples at home could help boost cervical cancer screening in areas where women lack access to health services. This could help prevent unnecessary deaths caused by this preventable disease, the company said.
The system, called Mía by XytoTest, includes a medical device that allows women to self-collect cervical cells. The cells are then analyzed to identify human papillomavirus (HPV) using a molecular system of real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
If a woman’s cells are infected with high-risk strains of HPV, the same cells can be used to analyze tumor biomarkers that detect the potential risk of high-grade lesions (CIN 2+) or cervical cancer.
Unlike a Pap smear, which has 30-50% sensitivity, the Mía by XytoTest system has 96% sensitivity in its results, the company said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1 million women have cervical cancer worldwide. Many women have no access to health services for prevention, curative treatment, or palliative care. Cervical cancer is caused by long-term infection with HPV, and most cases – more than 80 percent – occur in low- and middle-income countries.
The WHO noted that every year, 527,624 new cases of cervical cancer are diagnosed worldwide. Of these, 13,960 cases are in Mexico, and 99.7% are related to any of the 14 high-risk HPV genotypes.
“The idea for Mía by XytoTest arose from the need to raise awareness among the sexually active female population on the importance of the culture of self-care and prevention to fight diseases with high morbidity and mortality rates that are paradoxically preventable, such as cervical cancer,” Frank Meléndez, Mel-Mont Medical’s COO, said in a news release.
Nobel Prize winner Harald zur Hausen’s discovery that HPV caused cervical cancer motivated the developers of Mía by XytoTest.
“We created Mía by XytoTest to reduce sociocultural barriers that prevent the participation of women in the organized screening programs of cervical cancer, giving them the possibility of obtaining their sample from the comfort of their home or in the doctor’s office without the need for professional assistance,” Liliana Montes, the company’s CEO, said.
The new system is expected to improve gynecological intervention and prevent avoidable deaths caused by cervical cancer while providing better population coverage to prevent the disease.