Media Release - 08/09/11
Canterbury Health Laboratories (CHL)
Microbiology is trialling a new testing method for identifying
Human Papillomavirus (HPV) infections that may lead to the development of cervical cancer.
The current method used by laboratories
nationally involves looking for the presence of HPV in a
sample, as part of a routine cervical smear for women aged over 30 years.
The Medical Laboratory Scientist leading
this evaluation project, Dr Rachel Lyman, says while this method
looks for the HPV virus, it is unable to identify those patients who are more likely to progress on to develop
CHL is currently evaluating a new method
looking at an indicator for progression to cancer rather than
the presence of the virus.
“We are testing 500 samples for HPV by
both testing methods – which is how we are working to evaluate
the effectiveness and potential of this new method,” Dr Lyman says.
She says the new method being evaluated
does have the potential to alleviate unnecessary psychological
distress caused to those women who receive a positive HPV test and then go on to clear the infection.