Early detection of cervical cancer in hard-to-reach populations of women through portable and point-of-care HPV testing

01 January 2019 → 31 December 2024
European funding: framework programme
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Preventive medicine
cervical cancer
Other information
Project description

Cervical cancer is the 4th most common cancer in women worlThe ELEVATE project sets a multidisciplinary team comprising manufactures and experts from Europe and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, to improve the global adequacy and coverage of cervical cancer screening, particularly to specific populations of women that by not being regularly screened (hard-to-reach populations) are at higher-risk to develop cervical cancer. Although Cervical cancer is still the fourth most common cancer in women worldwide, with up to 85% of the burden occurring in developing countries, preventive vaccination against human papillomavirus and early detection of precancer in screening programs has shown to be successful in reducing cancer incidence and mortality.1–3 However, different challenges hamper a global implementation of such programs and are in the base of women’s non-attendance to screening. This highlights the lack of reflection of ethnic, cultural and resource differences from different populations in current cervical cancer screening. In ELEVATE it is proposed to conduct social science investigations to identify hard-to-reach women in Belgium, Brazil, Ecuador and Portugal, to address their barriers to screening and to design strategies to make primary screening more accessible to them, and therefore, contribute to reduce the global burden of cervical cancer. This will be complemented with fundamental and technological research to develop an efficient and marketable test for the combined genomic and proteomic detection of high-risk HPV infections in those populations. The test will be made portable, low-cost, compatible with self-sampling, point-of-care and generate rapid and easytounderstand results, without relying on electrical outlets or trained health personnel. Integrant part of the proposal is also to infer and disseminate the societal, economic implications of the developed strategies using a hard-to-reach community-based participatory research.

Role of Ghent University
Ghent University coordinates the overall project. In addition, researchers from the International Centre for Reproductive Health (ICRH) and Center for MicroSystems Technology (CMST) work closely together to fulfill the various tasks of the project in Belgium.