Dr Sujata Hajra
R&D Manager, Molecular Biology,
HiMedia Laboratories Pvt. Ltd.

Addressing women’s health with molecular diagnostics

Women’s health today is of paramount importance and occupies a major share of the discussions in public forums and awareness programs. Cancer has been spreading like wildfire, causing about 634,000 deaths per year, out of which 122,844 are cervical cancers, caused by human papilloma virus (HPV virus). We lose 67,477 women to cervical cancer each year.

HPV is a large group of 150 different viruses, amongst which a few are high-risk types of HPV. Based on WHO, mainly 16 and 18 subtypes, are the leading causes of cervical cancer. The mode of action of the HPV virus is that it deactivates the P53 inhibitor in cervical cells, which causes uncontrolled differentiation of mutated cells thus causing cancer. Routinely used pap smear screening of cervical cancer is based on subjective interpretation and is a laborious technique; hence, having low sensitivity. Accurate and early detection of the presence of even fewer copies of HPV virus thus becomes vital.

In order to detect HPV, using nucleic acid sequence-based amplification (NASBA), HPV genomic DNA needs to be isolated from vaginal swabs or skin scrapings of affected patients. The isolated DNA is amplified using specific primers, which correspond to specific gene sequences of cancer-causing HPV strains that are of interest.

Our preparedness toward situations like cancer screening and introducing robust technology for this purpose would determine the overall health of the nation. With the alarming number of deaths that HPV is causing, HPV PCR-based testing should be considered as a part of the cervical-cancer screening mission of the government. HiMedia has resolved these detection issues using innovative, cost-effective, and new-age technology – Insta NX and Insta Q96 Plus.

It is certain that molecular diagnostics has and will lead to a revolutionary change in addressing major concerns like women’s health and safety. The Indian society has always believed in the mantra Matru Devo Bhava wherein woman is the nucleus of the family. Hence, improving women’s health by reducing morbidity and mortality would result in a happy and healthy society.

One-stop solution for HPV molecular diagnostics

HiMedia Laboratories Pvt. Ltd. has been representing the Make in India initiative for the past 43 years in the life sciences fields. The company offers viral DNA extraction kit for manual and automated extraction of nucleic acids. The manual extraction kit contains a combination of buffers for lysis of cells and spin column with silica membranes. The Innovative Insta NX – automated nucleic acid purification system – uses SuperS technology coupled with Trinity technology. The isolated viral DNA is subjected to real-time PCR, using HiMedia’s Advanced Insta Q96 Plus real-time PCR machine. The company has designed genotyping kits for multiplex real-time PCR for detection of HPV 16 and 18, 6 and 11, and 31 and 33, along with the generic HPV kit for screening. Sensitivity and specificity of PCR kits contribute toward early diagnosis, lower cost of treatment, and better outcome of disease in women.

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