Presently, he leads a research group focusing on the development of a full molecular cervical cancer self-screening algorithm and is a part-time director of Self-Screen bv, a company that develops diagnostic molecular tests for cervical (pre)cancer.
Cervical cancer is the 4th most common cancer worldwide with 528,000 new cases and 266,000 deaths every year. It is also the only cancer 100% preventable. It has been extensively proved, that cervical cancer is caused by persistent infections with the human papilloma virus, termed high-risk HPV. In these persistent infections, there is a characteristic cumulative process called hypermethylation, which can eventually silence some critical tumour suppressor genes of the host cells.
Only around 20% of CIN2/3 lesions will progress to cancer, but still the majority of these are overtreated by ablative therapy leading to comorbidity, especially for women in their child bearing years.
Hypermethylation of FAM 19A4 and miR124-2 have been shown to be reliable markers of disease progression, and can be used to determine if a CIN2/3 lesion is transforming into carcinoma.
QIAGEN´s QIAsure Methylation Test identifies cervical cancer and the preceding CIN lesion with high short-term progression risk. It has been validated in six different European screening settings as a triage test applicable for both HPV and/or cytology screened populations. It brings valuable benefits for the physician, the patient and has proven to improve cost effectiveness for health care organizations and insurance companies.