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QIAGEN and Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute Partner to Establish First Large-Scale Cervical Cancer Screening Program in Kolkata

VENLO, Netherlands and KOLKATA, India, April 21 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- QIAGEN and the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI) today announced a collaboration to establish the first large-scale cervical cancer screening program for women in Kolkata, India. QIAGEN (Nasdaq: QGEN; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) will provide its diagnostic tests for the human papillomavirus (HPV) -- the primary cause of cervical cancer. CNCI will conduct the screening and provide appropriate treatment as needed.

The "QIAGENcares Kolkata Project" will use QIAGEN's hybrid capture 2 (hc2) HPV DNA testing technology (also known as the digene(R) HPV Test) to screen women for cancer-causing types of HPV to identify those with or at risk for developing cervical cancer. Participating women will also be screened using VIA (visual inspection with acetic acid) as per the Indian National Guidelines for Cervical Screening. Screening will take place at community-based mobile field clinics in the villages neighboring Kolkata. Women found to have cervical cancer or pre-cancer will be immediately treated at the field clinic -- a process referred to as "screen and treat" -- or referred to the CNCI for follow up. The project also includes educational campaigns to raise awareness about HPV, cervical cancer, and other women's health issues. The initiative will be conducted over 5 years and is expected to reach 50,000 women.

Despite being a preventable cancer with a known primary cause, cervical cancer claims nearly 300,000 lives every year -- with 80% of these deaths occurring in developing countries. India has more cervical cancer cases than any other country in the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that every year more than 130,000 Indian women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 74,000 die from it. This makes cervical cancer the leading cause of cancer related deaths in India and represents approximately 1/4 of the world's total cervical cancer cases and mortality. The WHO estimates that only about 5 percent of women in the developing world have been screened for cervical disease in the previous five years, compared to 40-50 percent in the developed world.

"This project is a great demonstration of how our advanced screening solutions can bring state of the art healthcare to women in all regions of the globe. Kolkata, India is a particularly fitting location to launch this project as India has the world's highest incidence rate of cervical cancer. We believe that launching this project can play a role in helping to change those statistics," said Mr. Peer Schatz, CEO of QIAGEN. "Through the QIAGENcares Kolkata collaboration we will increase awareness about cervical cancer prevention and make screening more accessible, two vital ingredients in the effort to reduce cervical cancer rates. Also, we are looking forward to demonstrating the combination of cost effectiveness and enormous value for healthcare that QIAGEN's state of the art cervical cancer screening solutions can bring to a setting such as the one in Kolkata." The Kolkata screening project is a part of QIAGENcares, the company's corporate social responsibility program focused on improving health by providing access to screening methods for infectious diseases in emerging and developing countries.

"We are pleased to work with QIAGEN on this cervical cancer screening project. We here at the CNCI see first-hand how serious a threat cervical cancer is to the health of women locally and to Indian society as a whole. We hope this collaboration will help raise awareness of the issue and set an example for other screening projects in the future," said Dr. Jaydip Biswas, Director, CNCI.

The cervical cancer screening program will be officially launched at the opening ceremony of the 2009 Asia-Oceania Research Organization on Genital Infections and Neoplasia (AOGIN) conference in Kolkata on April 25-26. The first women are expected to be screened in June.

The impact of HPV testing on cervical cancer incidence and death in India was demonstrated in an International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) study published in the April 2, 2009 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. The trial evaluated cervical cancer prevention tools in 130,000 women in the Maharashtra state of India, and found HPV testing to be the most effective way to reduce cervical cancer incidence when compared to either Pap (cytology) testing or VIA. The study demonstrated that a single round of HPV testing was associated with a significant reduction in the numbers of advanced cervical cancers and deaths.

QIAGEN's HPV test platform -- known as the digene HPV Test -- uses advanced molecular diagnostic technologies to identify the presence of the genetic code (DNA) of 13 high-risk, cancer-causing types of HPV. The digene HPV Test has been published in more than 300 peer-reviewed journal articles and studied in clinical trials involving more than 825,000 women worldwide. More than 40 million tests for carcinogenic HPV have been performed with the digene HPV Test, which is recognized as the "gold-standard" in HPV testing.


QIAGEN N.V., a Netherlands holding company, 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. Assay technologies are used to make such isolated biomolecules visible. QIAGEN has developed and markets more than 500 consumable products as well as automated solutions for such consumables. 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. This panel includes the digene HPV Test, which is regarded as the "gold standard" in testing for high-risk types of human papillomavirus (HPV), the primary cause of cervical cancer. QIAGEN employs more than 3,000 people in over 30 locations worldwide. Further information about QIAGEN can be found at .

About the CNCI:

The Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI) was established by Prof. Subodh Mitra, a gynecological oncologist and inaugurated by Noble Laureate Madam Irene Curie on 12th January, 1950. It is an autonomous Institution under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India and jointly financed by the Government of India and the Government of West Bengal. The CNCI continues to uphold its original commitments to the control and prevention of human cancer. The 200 bed hospital facility caters to more than 6,500 new cancer patients originating from different states of Eastern India as well as from Bangladesh and Nepal. The CNCI places a strong emphasis on projects for community oriented early cancer detection and promotion of cancer awareness.

Statements contained in this release that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements, including statements about our products, markets, strategy and operating results. Such statements are based on current expectations that involve risks and uncertainties including, but not limited to, those associated with: management of growth and international operations (including currency fluctuations and logistics), variability of our operating results, commercial development of our markets (including applied testing, clinical and academic research, proteomics, women's health/HPV testing and molecular diagnostics), our relationships with customers, suppliers and strategic partners, competition, changes in technology, fluctuations in demand, regulatory requirements, identifying, developing and producing integrated products differentiated from our competitors' products, market acceptance of our products, and integration of acquired technologies and businesses. For further information, refer to our filings with the SEC, including our latest Form 20-F. Information in this release is as of the date of the release, and we undertake no duty to update this information unless required by law.

    For more information, please contact:

    Asia / Pacific
    Brendan Green
    Phone: +86-755-8636-6116

    Solveigh Maehler
    Phone: +49-2103-29-11710

    Thomas Theuringer
    Phone: +49-2103-29-11826

    Shelley Ducker
    Phone: +1-240-686-7603

SOURCE QIAGEN; Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute
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