Creators of pioneering cancer test seek backing from the US

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A PIONEERING Sheffield invention that could help to save the lives of thousands of women each year has been unveiled at a leading global medical technology conference in the USA.

Sheffield University and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spin-out Zilico is due to launch its innovative hand-held scanner for detecting cervical cancer – the ZedScan I – next year.

It hopes to find potential commercial partners and investors at AdvaMed 2012, the Advanced Medical Technology Association’s conference, which is taking place in Boston this week.

Zilico’s device instantly, painlessly and accurately detects cervical cancer, which affects around 500,000 women worldwide each year and is responsible for 300,000 deaths.

Currently, in the UK, women have a smear test every three to five years and then have to wait to find out the results, which are not 100 per cent accurate.

The ZedScan I can be used at the time of the smear test to give an instant result or during a detailed examination following a positive test and can tell whether cells are normal, precancerous or cancerous. A report on key trials involving 400 women across Europe, who had been referred for further examinations led to Zilico’s founder, Royal Hallamshire Hospital consultant gynaecological oncologist John Tidy, being presented with the award for Best Scientific Presentation at the American Society for Colposcopy and Cervical Pathology’s biennial scientific meeting earlier this year.

Zilico’s chief executive, Sameer Kothari, said the study made Zilico very attractive to outside investors and those interested in potential partnerships.

“We look forward to meeting interested parties at AdvaMed 2012,” added Mr Kothari.