During the first days of March, Dr. Alfred Hansel took a close look at the healthcare system of Cuba. The Managing Director of oncgnostics GmbH participated in the Cuban-German Healthtech Summit in Havana. Cervical cancer and its early detection is a big issue in Cuba.

Dr. Alfred Hansel, Managing Director of oncgnostics GmbH, attended the event to get a first-hand impression of the Cuban health-care system and the corresponding market. During a delegation trip organised by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, representatives of 10 German companies from the medical sector met with representatives of the Cuban health-care industry. The latter gave an insight into their work and the Cuban health care system, while the German companies gave short presentations to the Cuban audience. Opportunities for cooperation were discussed in subsequent bilateral talks. Dr. Hansel had a particularly thorough exchange with representatives of the Hermanos Ameijeiras Clinical-Surgical Hospital, who was very interested in GynTect, the cervical cancer screening test developed by oncgnostics GmbH, and who invited Dr. Hansel for a visit at the hospital’s lab.

Early detection of cervical cancer

The Cuban health-care system is progressive. Pap smears have been used for cervical cancer screening since the late 1960s. Cuban women can undergo the test once every three years. And it was successful! The number of new cases as well as the death rate fell steadily. But since the 1990s the trend has reversed, with more and more women suffering from cervical cancer and even more women dying of it. The reasons are yet unknown. An examination every three years may not be enough. Moreover, only about 70% of women actually go for the regular cervical cancer screening.

Cooperation on a study

The Hermanos Ameijeiras Clinical-Surgical Hospital, the largest hospital in Cuba and a reference centre for research and education, would like to contribute to improving cervical cancer prevention in Cuba by means of a clinical trial in the near future.

‘Representatives of the hospital showed great interest in GynTect, our test for the detection of cervical cancer, and are currently in the starting phase of a study that will demonstrate the advantage of the HPV test over the Pap smear. We have talked intensively about using GynTect to complement the study. In the next few days, we will develop the ideas raised in Cuba in order to possibly implement them soon’, says Dr. Alfred Hansel