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Improving Access to Cervical Cancer Screening Using Rapid, Point-of-care, User-friendly miRNA Biomarker Assays

Team Members:
  • Ike Zhang
  • Sai Dharmasena
  • Steven Guo
  • Katia Kovrizhkin
  • Lauren Pan
  • Eden Gbolade
  • Jayvik Joshi
  • Simren Shah
  • Dr. Constanza Miranda (Faculty mentor)
  • Dr. Samson Jarso (Clinical mentor)
  • Dr. Jean Anderson (Committee member)
  • Dr. David Brenes (Committee member)
  • Meagan Smith (Teaching Assistant)


According to the WHO, cervical cancer is the fourth most common cancer in women. In addition, according to NCBI, it is the most common cause of death among women in 21 of the 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Cervical cancer is most prevalent in LMICs, or low and middle income countries, where access to healthcare and screening rates for cervical cancer are very low. Low screening rates are attributed to geographical and financial barriers to accessing quality healthcare, invasiveness of screening, low accuracy of screening methods such as VIA (visual inspection with acetic acid of the cervix), and the need for trained healthcare providers and physicians. To address the need for affordable, high accuracy, deskilled, and non-invasive screening, we have developed a method of detecting miRNA in urine as a biomarker for cervical cancer diagnosis. This method would simplify the sample processing for initial screening of cervical cancer in both our target population of Sub Saharan Africa and all over the world. We believe our solution has the potential to significantly increase the likelihood of early detection of cervical cancer in LMICs. This new approach could lead to a significant decrease in the disease prevalence and morbidity while improving the general state of women’s health.


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