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Cervical Cancer Testing Simplified with New Pain-Free Home Kit


A new pain-free home test kit for cervical cancer, developed by postgraduate student Sânziana Foia with expert support from the Venture Builder Incubator (VBI), has been unveiled. The innovative device aims to eliminate the need for traditional smear tests, offering results in as little as 15 minutes.

To gauge interest in the system, Foia has launched a website capable of taking pre-orders. The initiative aims to demonstrate demand to potential investors and the National Health Service (NHS). According to the sources, approximately one-third of women in the UK miss their smear tests annually due to concerns about pain, embarrassment, fear, and body consciousness. The statistics underscore the need for alternative solutions, particularly for younger women who are not invited for smear tests until the age of 25. Foia’s startup, Papcup, aims to empower women to take control of their cervical health.

Papcup was part of the 2023 cohort of the VBI programme, which supports doctoral students and early-career researchers (ECRs) across the UK in testing their business ideas or growing their existing startups. The programme equips aspiring entrepreneurs with the knowledge and skills to test their concepts and connects them with a network of investors, advisors and other experts within Edinburgh’s innovation ecosystem and beyond.

VBI’s programme leverages data to generate benefits for businesses and society through the Data-Driven Innovation (DDI) initiative, part of the £1.3 billion Edinburgh & South-East Scotland City-Region Deal.

Cancer Research Horizons, the innovation arm of Cancer Research UK, focuses on translating novel discoveries into new tools, technologies, and treatments for cancer patients. The organisation has established an entrepreneurial programme to foster an academic culture that encourages and rewards entrepreneurship, aiming to maximise and expedite the translation of scientific discoveries into patient benefits.

To advance the mission, Cancer Research Horizons has partnered with the VBI to support up to ten teams of early-career researchers, helping them develop the translational and entrepreneurial skills necessary to progress their discoveries. Papcup was one of the teams supported in the fourth cohort of this partnership.

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