When we last visited it was early in the 2nd quarter. Now my absent (or possibly heterozygous) “blog gene” has again surfaced and I find myself deep in the 4th Quarter having not shared the work of POI or my thoughts moving forward with you. However, sometimes things move so fast, I find myself waiting for the final chapter, or at least the “end of the movement”, to take a breath and bring my friends and the family of POI up to date.
We have thrown our hearts, minds and bodies fully into two projects both of which are proceeding in wonderful fashion. Our projects focused on developing a community based model to address preventive health needs (using cervical cancer as our disease target) are progressing well. The PERCAPS project in Manchay and Iquitos Peru is in the follow-up phase and not only was highly successful but helped us think more clearly about our plans to expand the program. We are now in the treatment phase of the first pilot in the CHICAPS project in rural China. Our research team has contributed many new ideas to consider as we try to simplify and streamline the model for the communities to manage. It has been very rewarding for me to witness my colleagues making the transition from controlling all the details as we doctors like to do, towards allowing the community to handle virtually all aspects of the screening process. Ahead on the schedule is a second pilot, followed by a screening “event” for 9000 women. The CHICAPS project also examines secondary screening options for triaging women who test positive, and then treatment using a study arm with cryotherapy vs. the “standard of care” arm of colposcopy/biopsy/LEEP. We are also working on a proposal to reach the 116,000 women between the ages of 30-60 in the Loreto Region of Peru (mostly low and high jungle). We now believe the rate limiting step is the management of the positives, since screening and determining the results should take no more than 1 month. Intertwined with this work we have completed the development and packaging of our simple self-collection brush “Just for Me”, and will soon have a kit assembled containing the brush, instructions, a solid media specimen transport card and envelope. In addition we will soon be introducing a new direction in HPV testing that we believe will be a “game changer” in terms of processing speed, low cost, accuracy, flexibility and most importantly applicability to virtually anywhere in the world.
Our other project has been all consuming for the POI China coordinator/administrator XinFeng (Steve) Qu and me over the past 6 months. We hope to have a big announcement early in 2012 as POI spreads its wing to embrace cancer prevention strategies for multiple other primary disease sites.
I realize I have left a lot of issues hanging with this blog, but I am very sensitive towards using the proper forum to introduce new science. I also would like to be very sure we are talking about reality not just hopes and dreams. That said I believe for POI the first quarter of 2012 will be a blockbuster so tune in and happy Thanksgiving to everyone.