Darmstadt, October 29th 2023
Participation in cancer screening examinations has recovered after a pandemic-related slump, according to an analysis by the Scientific Institute of the AOK (WIdO).
Prof. Michael Ghadimi, President of the German Cancer Society, underlines the importance of this development: ” Considering the decline in the number of cancer screening tests during the pandemic, this normalization of uptake is a very positive development. The earlier cancer or precancerous lesions are detected, the better the chances of recovery. For this reason, we continue to call on people not to become lax on this issue and to attend their screening appointments.”
Jens Martin Hoyer, Deputy Chairman of the Board of the AOK-Bundesverband, adds: “After many missed screening tests during the pandemic, many insured people are now apparently making up for missed appointments and returning for cancer screening.”
Despite the positive trends in some screening programs, there is an urgent need for action in cancer prevention, especially in screening for cervical cancer and skin cancer. The current figures indicate that these areas of screening have experienced significantly less uptake. This sheds light on the need to increase awareness and availability of screening in these specific areas in order to further improve preventative healthcare and early detection of cancer.
The example of colorectal cancer screening also clearly demonstrates the potential for increasing the uptake of established screening tests:
According to the WIdO analysis, only around 45% of eligible people aged 65 or older in 2021 were reached by a colonoscopy for early detection in the past ten years.
Over 300 different types of cancer are known worldwide. Only five of these (breast, prostate, colon, skin and cervix) are currently covered by regular statutory measures for early detection in Germany. In Germany, these account for around 45% of the approximately 500,000 new cases of cancer each year. For the remaining 55%, there are currently no regulatory measures.
PanTum Detect® early detection from Zyagnum AG can provide information on a large number of types of cancer – including those for which there are currently no regulatory measures. PanTum Detect® is not intended to replace the existing regulatory measures, but to supplement them and help close the prevailing screening gap in early cancer detection.
About Zyagnum: The Darmstadt-based biotechnology company Zyagnum AG develops diagnostic solutions for human medicine. Zyagnum has a profound understanding of immunological processes and their connection with diseases. For example, the EDIM® technology developed by Zyagnum can be used in blood tests to detect specific antigens in immune cells that may play a role in tumour development. Today, the company employs more than 40 people and was founded by Zyagnum CEO Ralf Schierl together with Johannes Coy in 2007.
About EDIM®: When the human organism derails and runs towards disease, the immune system is often the first to recognise this, often before any symptoms. The platform technology we have developed, EDIM® (Epitope Detection in Monocytes), uses the mechanisms of the immune system to detect such derailments. The EDIM® technology examines macrophages for antigens that have previously been taken up into the cell interior by these immune cells through phagocytosis – this is why we also call EDIM® an immunological biopsy.
About PanTum Detect®: The PanTum Detect® is based on EDIM® technology and detects the enzymes TKTL1 and DNaseX (Apo10) in macrophages. A large-scale study at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf was able to show that the PanTum Detect® can provide the decisive indication as to which people without typical symptoms and suspected cancer in a healthy screening benefit from further examination by imaging procedures. In the case of the 2022 study, an indication of a previously undetected cancer or precancerous lesion was provided for 124 subjects out of over 5,000 study participants – in the study alone for 29 different tumor entities (Positive Predictive Value: 82%).