Real Time Smear Test Offering More Accurate Cervical Cancer Diagnosis in UK Hospitals

ZedScan Portable Cervical Smear System adopted in two UK hospitals


Cervical cancer is caused by persistent high-risk Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection, which triggers changes in the cervical cells.

Colposcopy is an important method in detecting high-grade Cervical Intra-epithelial Neoplasia (CIN) to prevent cervical cancer from developing. However the procedure has not drastically changed over the last 90 years, and diagnosis remains dependent on subjective assessment by the clinician.

Developed by UK company Zilico Ltd., ZedScan™ is a portable, handheld device that can measure and detect tissue changes in women identified with an abnormal smear test. The system offers real-time and more accurate detection of pre-cancerous cells than standard colposcopy, enabling clinicians to make better informed decisions at a patient’s first visit. The ZedScan system uses patented Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) technology to detect dysplasia and cancer of the cervix. It consists of a portable handset, docking station, a single use sensor and software application. The non-invasive device takes 10–12 readings around the cervix, which takes approximately 2 to 3 minutes. It analyses the underlying tissue structure that identifies disease allowing clinicians to make a more informed decision during the patient’s first examination.

The technology behind the system was developed by Zilico in collaboration with Professor Brian Brown, a medical physicist at the University of Sheffield, and Professor John Tidy, a consultant gynaecological oncologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

ZedScan is a non-optical system, designed to supplement the standard colposcopy process and provide reassurance and confirmation for diagnosis. In many cases, the system also identifies abnormalities that may have been missed by visual examination.

The upshot is that appropriate treatment can be offered immediately to women identified with severe abnormalities, or reassurance swiftly provided to patients with no evidence of disease, whilst also reducing the number of biopsies required.

The University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust have recently adopted ZedScan at the gynaecology departments at both the Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital Stafford.

Physician comments

Consultant Gynaecologist, Charles Redman, also President of the European Federation for Colposcopy, said: “We are delighted to be using ZedScan as it is very much the tool of the future. It is extremely easy to use and improves colposcopy practice making our examinations more accurate and reliable. For the hospital, it also helps to save valuable resources, as fewer biopsies are needed and patients can be returned to normal screening much quicker. Patients also like it because it offers them that additional reassurance, so it is a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

Company comments

Rob Atkinson, Sales Director for DP Medical Systems, the company that will be supplying ZedScan to the Trust, said: “The University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trusts is working hard to become a centre of excellence in the field of gynaecology, so we’re delighted that they felt it was important to include ZedScan as part of the Trust’s service.

“With ZedScan’s better clinical outcomes and economic benefits, we are working with other NHS Trusts throughout the country to adopt ZedScan in to their cervical cancer care pathway.”

Source: Zilico Ltd.

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