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Early Detection Saves Lives: HPV Testing Kits – Chula’s Innovation for Women’s Health

HPV Testing Kits - Chula’s Innovation for Women’s Health

– Chula researchers developed a simple, accurate, and fast urine test kit for cervical cancer that’s got the nod from the National Research Council of Thailand’s 2021 Outstanding Inventions Award.

Cervical cancer is the second most common cancer in Thai women age 30-60, after breast cancer, with 10,000 new cases per year, and claiming as many as 5,000 lives annually. Though curable if detected early, many women are afraid of getting tested due to the cost, and their fear of the Pap Smear method. It is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), not preventable by condoms. And though there is a vaccine for HPV, it’s not yet prevalent, nor does it provide 100% protection.

Today, the Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University’s research team, comprising Prof. Dr. Orawan Chailapakul, Dr. Prinjaporn Tee-ngam, Sarida Naorungroj, Dr. Somrak Petchcomchai, and Prof. Dr. Tirayut Vilaivan have invented the urine HPV paper-based DNA sensor testing kits for cervical cancer that would allow a simpler and pain-free procedure that can be done frequently.

The urine HPV paper-based DNA sensor testing kits are easier and much faster than the Pap Smear. It eliminates the need to insert a tool and hold the vaginal walls open.

“The kits test for HPV DNA using PNA (Peptide Nucleic Acid), a synthetic substance that imitates our DNA, and designed to target specific cancer-causing strains of the virus,” said Prof. Dr. Orawan.

“Urine sample is mixed in a solution, then dropped onto the paper sensor, so the color change can be observed. The normal color is bright red, and it gets lighter according to the amount of the virus detected. Urine has fewer DNA materials than tissues, so a smartphone colorimeter app amplifying the DNA level is used alongside to make color change more visible.” Test results show the test kit’s high accuracy with a sensitivity of 85%, specificity of 78%, and reproducibility rate of 100%.”

The less-than-500-Baht HPV Testing Kits are not for home use and must be administered by health centers and community hospitals.

To stay safe from cervical cancer, women should “always keep the vaginal area clean, and get regular checkups,” Prof. Dr. Orawan concluded.

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Media Contact:
Chulalongkorn University Communication Center

Research Team Contact:
Prof. Dr. Orawan Chailapakul

SOURCE: Chulalongkorn University Communication Center