The Irish Cervical Screening Research (CERVIVA) Consortium, funded by the Health Research Board, is a multi-investigator collaboration encompassing researchers at seven Irish universities, eight hospitals and ten commercial diagnostic/ biotechnology companies. See website here.
The purpose of the consortium is to instigate and advance high quality peer-reviewed research programmes that provide the best possible information and guidance in the delivery of cervical screening services to women living in Ireland.
Consortium members share the following strategic objectives :-
Critically assess the economic and scientific effectiveness of manual and automated cytoscreening regimes to ensure that the optimum screening test procedures are deployed across Irish cytology laboratories.
Create a reference bank of digitised images such that virtual slides can be employed by Irish laboratories to establish the highest quality assurance standards and achieve internationally recognised laboratory accreditation.
Undertake detailed surveys among Irish women to provide knowledge of attitudes towards cervical screening and human papilloma virus (HPV) oncogenic viral testing.
Provide scientifically rigorous evidence-based information to support education and outreach programmes that increase awareness among both Irish females and general practitioners of screening, vaccination and intervention.
Evaluate in controlled clinical studies alternative disease management algorithms and regimes to ensure that the most appropriate intervention is made for specific patient sub-populations.
Examine the effectiveness of HPV vaccination progammes with respect to differences in immune response by individual patients.
Advance the development of a biochip diagnostic device that can be deployed across Ireland to ensure more effective screening of Irish woman leading to earlier detection and improved management of disease.
To act as a constructive lobby group to ensure continued support for research into diseases of the cervix and the effective deployment of resources leading to the best possible treatment of patients with cervical cancer.
The Irish Cervical Screening Research Consortium aims to :-
- Demonstrate the relative merits of manual and automated cytology analysis regimes
- Provide evidence that will inform the Irish public of issues and advances in the area of cervical screening
- Increase awareness and support for research into diseases of the cervix
- Critically assess current practices to ensure that Irish patients receive the most effective clinical intervention
- Provide scientific information of immediate relevance to screening, vaccination and treatment of Irish patients.
- Develop novel solutions that will promote the early detection and effective intervention of diseases of the cervix.
Success to date
Since its launch in 2006, significant progress has been made in many areas of the strategic objectives including; the introduction of automated imaging in cervical cytology, the development of a digital EQA system for cervical cytology and the prevalence of Human Papillomavirus (HPV) in the Irish cervical screening population. CERVIVA for the first time in Ireland can report a HPV prevalence rate of 18% in a population of 1,300 women screened to date. These findings are of particular importance in the context of the recent call by the Government for the HSE to introduce a cervical cancer vaccination programme for all 12-year-old girls from September next year. In addition, interesting data on HPV prevalence, persistence and co-infection has been generated in a specific cohort of HIV women on antiviral retro therapy. Currently the consortium is examining the utility of HPV DNA and mRNA testing in monitoring clinical progression/regression post treatment for cervical disease and in women with persistent low grade cervical abnormalities.