An innovative comfortable and reliable specimen capture device to promote higher attendance for cervical smear tests and ensure safe convictions of the perpetrators of sexual assault.
Women in the UK are invited to a regular cervical screening test, but more than a million do not attend. A frequently cited cause is the discomfort of the very invasive sampling process. Over the last ten years, cases of cervical cancer in women aged 25 to 29, the age group most likely to miss cervical screenings, have increased by 59.2%.
Sexual assault is a frequently occurring crime but the collection of samples necessary to secure a safe conviction is invasive and uncomfortable, discouraging victims from coming forward. A further issue is that the potential for contamination during the collection process causes possible doubt as to the exact originating location of any evidence.
Our New Technology
Researchers at Staffordshire University have designed an innovative specimen capture device for cervical screening and evidence collection that is less invasive than conventional swabs and has a protective covering to prevent contamination during introduction into or retrieval from the vaginal canal. It has the potential to increase attendance for cervical screening tests and to encourage more victims of sexual assault to come forward, resulting in a greater number of diagnoses and convictions. In addition, the specimen collection system includes a method for the reliable long term storage of samples, meeting a need for future “cold case” crime investigation.
A prototype has been developed in partnership with a design company, and has been tested using gynaecology correct models. The design has been validated by knowledgeable parties including The United Kingdom Association of Forensic Nurses, G4S Forensic and Medical Services, a Genitourinary Consultant and other practitioners in process and protocol associated with sexual assault examination.
- Less invasive, decreased discomfort
- Increased attendance for routine cervical screening
- Greatly decreased chance of sample contamination
- Does not cause evidence transfer between sample areas
- Samples can be stored before analysis
- Collection of samples for feminine health checks.
- Examination of Sexual Assault Victims
- Veterinary Sciences
- Anal examination and sample collection
The University is seeking licensing and collaborative partners to support development of the technology, including human trials. With all women in the UK encouraged to undergo a cervical exam at least once every three years between the ages of 25 and 49, this represents a very large market.
- Patent applications in US (US20160030020) and Europe (EP2964101)
- Validation test results
- Specialist technical/proprietary know-how