uBiome launches an at-home womens health test for HPV, STIs and bacterial vaginosis

SmartJane is a new women’s health test out from uBiome today that promises to check for 23 vaginal flora as well as 19 strains of the human papilloma virus and a string of sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia and gonorrhea from the comfort of your own home.

uBiome, which launched in 2012 to sequence and study the human microbiome, is best known for its at-home gut health test, SmartGut. This test sequences the DNA of your, well, poop to determine what’s going on in your digestive tract.

The SmartJane test, which can be ordered from your doctor or online through uBiomes network of physicians, is along the same vein in that it can detect and then genotype any trace of HPV to determine the strain as well as tell you what kind of healthy or unhealthy bacteria you’re working with…down there.

The genetic component is what sets this test apart from other at-home STD tests available from startups like MyLabBox or Everlywell. While these tests work in much the same way — you order online and then send it out to a certified lab for results — genotyping the organisms that might live among your lady parts can help determine the seriousness of the strain.

You can also go into a clinic or your doctor’s office to get tested for STI’s such as HPV. However, uBiome’s kit includes certain tests not readily available in other at-home tests or common to doctor’s offices such as Mycoplasma genitalium, which is an asymptomatic STI that can cause unexplained infertility.

“Often people are tested for it when there’s evidence of infertility but then it’s too late,” Dr. Jessica Richman, founder of uBiome told TechCrunch.

uBiome has collected thousands of samples over five years in a peer-reviewed study and claims a near 100 percent accuracy in detection of these diseases. The startup is now publishing a scientific paper on its findings

As with its original gut health test, uBiome processes the SmartJane tests in a CLIA-certified and CAP-accredited lab and then sends results to its HIIPA-compliant website. Those receiving results indicating an infection are then directed to speak with their doctor or to uBiome’s external clinical care network for further instructions.

Dr. Richman emphasized the SmartJane test was not meant to replace the testing you might get from a doctor’s office, but was rather something to help you further test in between well woman visits.

It may also encourage women to get testing for certain possibly life-threatening STI’s such as HPV. There are over 170 strains of the virus but only a few cause deadly cancer if left untreated. However, less than 80 percent of women in the U.S. go to their OBGYN for regular Pap screenings. An at-home test may take away some of the worry and stress of going in for a Pap Smear (the commonly used method of gathering cells to test for HPV).

In fact, women are more than twice as likely to self-test than go to their doctor first, according to a meta-analysis of 10 studies.

“What we are doing is making novel tests that are, in addition to what’s on the market, easier to get,” Dr. Richman said.

Those interested can either request the test through their doctor or go online and order the test through uBiome where (as stated above) a licensed physician will be assigned to review your test first.

Read more: https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/14/ubiome-launches-an-at-home-womens-health-test-for-hpv-stis-and-bacterial-vaginosis/

HPV virus cervical cancer and the Gardasil vaccine

HPV virus (Human Papilloma Virus) is a group of over 100 viruses, that affect skin cells and mucous membranes in humans. There is an association between being infected with these viruses and developing cervical cancer. Some strains of the virus also cause genital warts and may increase the risk of developing oral and anal cancers.

HPV was first discovered when researchers noticed that the only group of women that did not develop cervical cancer were celibate nuns. A sexually transmitted cause of cervical cancer was hypothesized, and research discovered the family of viruses.

Most women that contract the virus are able to clear it from their body within 1-2 years. If you cannot clear the virus, or have ongoing exposure to it, over time the virus can cause normal cells to turn cancerous, both in the cervix as well as the vagina. Pap smears not only can detect cancerous and precancerous cells, but can also detect the presence of the HPV virus.

Gardasil is a vaccine that helps your body to defend against 4 strains of HPV. Types 16 and 18 are associated with cervical cancer. Types 6 and 11 are 2 strains that cause genital warts. The vaccine is over $200 per dose and requires 3 doses. Not all that start the series finish it, either because of cost issues, side effects or non-compliance. The overall effective rate of protection from cancer is probably less than 50%, and may be as low as 17% if all that start the series, but do not complete it are included. Also one must remember that there are other strains that can cause cancer, that are not in the vaccine. It is recommended for girls as young as 11, up to age 26. It is now also recommended for boys, with the theory, that if HPV is decreased in boys and men, that the rate of infection in women will decline. There is some weak data that says that anal and oral cancers in homosexual men may decrease from the vaccine.

There is a push in many states to make this a mandatory vaccine. I think the long term data is not known, the actual benefits are probably much less than that reported, and the possibility exists, that if by some way we eliminate types 16 and 18, that another strain may become the new prevalent strain, and could be as bad or worse. What if there were 100 strains of small pox, and our vaccine prevented only 4 strains? Isn't it reasonable that another strain may emerge?

We have a wonderful way to prevent cervical cancer, already. The pap smear. Yet, we used to recommend your first pap at age 18, or when you became sexually active. The new recommendation is now age 21, regardless. Why is that? Money. The rationale is, it may take 3-5 years of infection before there are pap smear abnormalities, so lets turn a blind eye when someone is having unprotected sex at age 16. Don't do an exam, don't educate, let them get HPV, and worry about it later. On a similar note (rant to follow)!…very quietly, under president Obama, the starting age for mammogram was moved from age 40 to 50. Why? Because it cost too much money to save the lives of women in their 40s who developed breast cancer. There aren't enough to justify the cost. When there was an outrage over this recommendation, it was rolled back to 40.

If you think Obama care and universal healthcare wont have rationing and worse services for the majority, think again. When the government tells you that your 11 year old daughter can't go to school unless she is vaccinated for HPV. Or that you must give your infant the Hepatitis vaccine because the government doesn't know if they will grow up to be an IV drug user, or when a new lung cancer drug is prevented from coming to market, because it is $50,000 more than existing therapy, and "only" improves survival by 6-12 months over existing therapy. Beware.

1-2-3 Pap Easy Steps to Prevent Cervical Cancer

Shared at the 2013 Public Health Practice-Based Research Network Grantee Meeting

Dissemination & Implementation Pilot Project Opportunity
Richard Crosby and Margaret McGladrey
University of Kentucky College of Public Health

Rural Appalachian Kentucky suffers from some of the highest cervical cancer rates in the country. Two health behaviors – HPV vaccination and regular Pap testing – can aid in reducing this health burden. Despite this, many young adult women in this area do not perform these behaviors. As part of the Rural Cancer Prevention Center's ongoing efforts to reduce the cancer burden in rural Appalachian Kentucky, this project used extensive formative research to develop a DVD-based counseling program to promote receipt of the HPV vaccine as well as regular Pap testing.



A look at the FDA report on Gardasil, in May 2006, which highlights an INCREASED risk of Cervical Cancer when Gardasil is given to those who have already been exposed to the HPV strains that the vaccine prevents.
Also, a look at the percentage of people who have already been exposed to HPV and the 4 strains in question, as investigated in an NHS report on the Human Papillomavirus. This is the percentage who are at risk of getting cancer if they take the vaccine.

HPV is a sexually related virus, which is passed via skin to skin contact, not via body fluid/semen.
It can be passed from mother to child during childbirth.
It often has NO symptoms.

For this reason it is impossible to be entirely confident that the children and young adults who are being vaccinated are not already carrying the disease.

HPV usually is suppressed by the body's immune system and causes no ongoing ill effects.
Cervical cancer is already on the decrease.

So why put people at risk?

HPV vaccination is already mandatory in the state of Texas. MANDATORY! Other states and countries are pushing it to be made mandatory. This is a potential death sentence, which they don't give you an option on.

HPV Causing Cancer In Men

Cervical cancer may be the most common cancer linked to HPV, but it is not the only one. As it turns out, men are at higher risk to get another form of cancer from the same virus.

The human papillomavirus – it's most closely linked to women and cervical cancer.

"HPV, there are 140 different types; some are low-risk, some are high-risk. The high-risk types are known to cause almost all cervical cancers," says Dr. Kevin Fleishman, a gynecologist on Lee Memorial Health System's medical staff.

Studies show that half of all American men are infected with HPV and it puts them at greater risk of cancer too.

"Absolutely, more and more cancers have been shown to be associated with the HPV virus," says Dr. Fleishman.

Among them are head and neck cancers.

"Many of these cancers are caused by HPV. Prior to 15, 18 years ago, probably 90 to 95 percent of my new cancer patients were smokers. But now about 45 percent are non-smokers and the majority of those are caused by HPV," says Dr. Phillip Andrews, an otolaryngologist on the medical staff of Lee Memorial Health System.

Two-thirds of cancers of the tongue and tonsils are caused by HPV and 80 percent of those cases are found in men. If caught early, the prognosis is good.

"Some of the smaller cancers in the base of the tongue and tonsils we'll treat with radiation alone, particularly if it's HPV related," says Dr. Andrews.

The HPV vaccine was originally promoted as a 'girls' vaccine. Since then, the CDC recommended it for boys as well. And not just to stop the spread of cervical cancer but to keep them safe, too.

"If we prevent the transmission of the virus, then we can prevent the cancer," says Dr. Fleishman.

If you have questions about HPV or the vaccine, consult your doctor.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we've been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

Visit leememorial.org

Cervical Cancer Survivor Stories: Part 2

Part 2: Filmed at the national Cervical Cancer Coalition conference in Atlanta, GA, in January 2013, these stories from cervical cancer survivors and family members of women who have died from the disease highlight the devastating impact of cervical cancer. These personal stories also emphasize the importance of prevention in the form of vaccines and regular screening–prevention that can save lives.

Survey: Women Confused About Cervical Cancer Prevention

A new survey released by the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women's Health (NPWH) found that many women are in the dark about what it takes to prevent HPV (human papillomavirus). In this Video Susan Wysocki talks about the survey.

STOP Cervical Cancer

Sign now on to prevent cervical cancer in Europe. We need 1 million signatures for the European Parliament to consider the issue.

Every year over 50,000 women develop and 25,000 women die from cervical cancer in Europe when we already know that organised prevention programmes could prevent almost every case. However, the startling fact is that the majority of women in Europe do not have access to these programmes.

Cervical cancer is unique in that it could be virtually eliminated in Europe through organised prevention programmes but only a handful of European countries have these. This situation needs to be changed now so that all European women have equal access to proper protection against this disease.