Manchester firm’s pioneering technology for cervical cancer diagnosis

PIONEERING technology created by a Manchester company is now being used in two hospitals in Staffordshire to improve the speed and accuracy in diagnosing pre-cancerous conditions of the cervix.

The University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust have adopted a cervical cancer diagnostic system called ZedScan, at the gynaecology departments at both the Royal Stoke University Hospital and County Hospital Stafford.

Developed by Manchester based Zilico, ZedScan is a portable, handheld device that can measure and detect tissue changes in women identified with an abnormal smear test and it can offer a more accurate diagnosis for women who are at risk of cervical cancer.

The system offers real-time and more accurate detection of pre-cancerous cells than standard colposcopy (a procedure for examining the cervix), enabling clinicians to make better informed decisions at a patient’s first visit.

This means 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.

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.”

The technology behind the system was developed by Zilico, following a collaboration between 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.

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.

Rob Atkinson, sales director for DP Medical Systems, the company who will be supplying ZedScan to the Trust, said: “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.”