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Hanoi, Vietnam (ots/PRNewswire) - QIAGEN was featured this week for its efforts to eliminate cervical cancer at the 14th annual Global Summit of Women in Hanoi, Vietnam. CEO Peer Schatz came to this prominent international platform to issue a call to other leaders in business, NGOs and governments to join him and campaign to create a cervical-cancer-free world.
"Nearly 500,000 women around the world are diagnosed with cervical cancer every year - a shocking number considering that it's a highly preventable disease," Mr. Schatz told ministers from more than 60 countries at a roundtable on the opening day. "However, QIAGEN and partners such as the summit's Global Consortium of Women to End Cervical Cancer are showing that where there is a will there is a way. I urge you to join us. The tools are there; they just need desire and commitment to put them to work."
The Global Summit of Women annually brings together more than 1,000 senior-level women in business, government and advocacy, and is often called the "Davos for Women." It celebrates women's leadership by bringing together business and governmental professionals to work together to improve the economic power and well-being of females throughout the world. At last year's summit, President Irene Natividad announced the launch of an international "consortium to end cervical cancer." The consortium "aims to educate women about cervical cancer prevention and encouraging governments to provide easy access to the latest methods of prevention and detection, including HPV testing and vaccination." Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the primary cause of cervical cancer, and QIAGEN has developed the only FDA- and EU-approved test for high-risk types of the virus.
"We are delighted to have corporate leaders such as QIAGEN partner with us. Together we can leave the legacy of a cervical-cancer-free world to the next generations of women," said Ms Natividad. "We have made huge strides with women's empowerment. Yet, too often, an obstacle prevents millions of women from living healthy, productive lives: cancer. Cervical cancer kills more than a quarter million women each year, and nearly all of these deaths are preventable. New vaccines and a highly accurate test for HPV have the power to eliminate this devastating disease. But we need help in assuring access to these medical advances for all women, and we welcome QIAGEN's commitment and leadership."
In addition to its digene HPV Test, which QIAGEN distributes widely in the United States, Europe and elsewhere, the company is partnering with the non-profit organization PATH to develop a specially designed version of the screening test for low-resource countries. This new test is sensitive enough to identify the largest number of women at risk - a critical characteristic when a woman may be able to get to a medical clinic just once or twice in her lifetime. Yet at the same time, the new HPV test can be run without electricity or running water, and can be administered by workers with minimal training.
"Public-private partnerships are essential to advancing the health agenda for women, and QIAGEN is committed to leading the way," Mr. Schatz told the audience at a panel discussion on corporate social responsibility at the summit. "We look forward to working in tandem with the many partners we have found at this summit and elsewhere."
About HPV and cervical cancer (http://www.theHPVtest.com)
Worldwide, cervical cancer affects nearly 500,000 women annually and, after breast cancer, is the second most common malignancy found in women. Cervical cancer is caused by "high-risk" types of the human papillomavirus (HPV), which are sexually transmitted. It's estimated that 80 percent of women will get an HPV infection at some point in their lives. However, in most cases, the infection goes away or is suppressed by the body without causing problems. It is only infections that persist that can cause abnormal cells to form that may develop into cervical cancer if not detected and treated early. One report from the World Health Organization estimates that only about 5 percent of women had been screened for cervical disease in the previous five years, compared to 40-50 percent in the developed world.
About QIAGEN (http://www.qiagen.com)
QIAGEN NV, headquartered in the Netherlands, is the leading global provider of sample and assay technologies. Sample technologies are used to isolate and process DNA, RNA and proteins from biological samples such as blood or tissue, and assays make these isolated molecules visible to facilitate such vital activities as biological research and detection of disease. QIAGEN has developed and markets more than 500 products as well as instruments that make their use more efficient and accurate. The company provides its products to molecular diagnostics laboratories, academic researchers, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, and applied testing customers for purposes such as forensics, animal or food testing and pharmaceutical process control. QIAGEN's assay technologies include one of the broadest panels of molecular diagnostic tests available worldwide, including the only FDA-approved test for human papillomavirus (HPV), the primary cause of cervical cancer. QIAGEN employs more than 2,600 people in over 30 locations worldwide.