Basic Health International provides innovative low-cost, low-technology screening and treatment for women with cervical pre-cancer living in low-resource areas. BHI also provides medical training, monitoring and evaluation, and patient care in low-and middle income countries and is on the forefront of cervical cancer research. Each year, BHI applies for medical grants to finance groundbreaking research.
2014 Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine Award #UH2CA189883 for Cervical Cancer Research
In 2014, Dr. Cremer, was the proud recipient of a $4 million grant (over five years) from Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to fund the rapid deployment of a CryoPen® Cryosurgical System adapted for low-to middle income countries (LMIC). This project will create a treatment paradigm that overcomes the barriers of gas-based cryotherapy by adapting the current model of the CryoPen® Cryosurgical System, an inexpensive and easily transportable cryotherapy device, specifically for use in LMICs. This innovative new device is part of the Cleveland Clinic’s initiative to support the development of cancer-related technologies suitable for use in these areas.
Dr. Cremer was selected from a highly competitive applicant pool to receive funding for the continued research and clinical testing of the LMIC-adapted CryoPen® prototype. Qualified grantees were required to show a working prototype of existing or emerging technologies designed specifically for the detection, imaging, or treatment of cancer in LMIC settings. The LMIC-adapted CryoPen® is based on existing technology, but adapted around the needs of healthcare workers and patients in the developing world. Currently, the standard treatment for cervical pre-cancer in low-resource settings is a nitrous oxide (N20)-based cryotherapy, which relies on pressurized gas contained in a large and heavy tank. An already existing CryoPen® model uses compression-cooling technology to eliminate the need for a cumbersome gas tank, but requires electricity, which can be difficult to access in many rural and isolated regions. The proposed plan will create a comprehensive model for the development and use of the LMIC-adapted CryoPen® that will address these limitations.
The Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine award #UH2CA189883 will be used to compare the efficacy of the LMIC-adapted CryoPen® to the current standard of care in both the developing and developed world. The optimization of the CryoPen®designed for resource-poor settings will enhance the delivery of effective treatment for cervical cancer in LMICs. The goal of the project is to create a tool for treatment of cervical cancer that surpasses the ability of any existing treatment for use in LMICs. The LMIC-adapted CryoPen® will be resilient under extreme conditions, will be compatible with unstable electrical systems, and will be able to be operated from a car battery when more traditional electricity sources are not available. In addition, it will be a more cost-effective means of treatment compared to gas-based cryotherapy. Preliminary data has already shown that the prototype of the LMIC-adapted CryoPen® produces equivalent tip temperature to both the original CryoPen® and N2O-based cryotherapy. The study predicts that this new technology will be an effective method of treatment of cervical intraepithelial neoplasia grade 2 and higher (CIN2+) with increased potential for accessibility and utilization. If deployment of this research plan is successful, the LMIC-adapted CryoPen® has the potential to revolutionize cervical cancer screening and treatment models around the world.
The creation of a low-cost, durable, and easy to transport means of definitive treatment for cervical cancer, has the potential of enabling treatment for women who would otherwise have no access to care. The results of this study will affect other research areas by serving as a springboard to explore treatment alternatives that can be used globally in LMIC and thus reach the most vulnerable populations.
2011 Patient Advocacy Grant for Cervical Cancer Awareness Campaign
In 2011, Basic Health International was awarded the Patient Advocacy Grant from the American Society of Cytopathology (ASC). The ASC is an organization composed of physicians, cytotechnologists, and scientists who practice the cytologic method of diagnostic pathology. Dedicated to the science and study of cells, the ASC is committed to education, research, and advocacy with the ultimate goal of improving the standards and quality of patient care.
With an increased emphasis on public education, and awareness and understanding of the need to adopt early detection practices, especially among women regarding cervical cancers, the ASC created the Patient Advocacy Grant. The mission of this grant is to award $10,000 to a project that focuses on advocacy efforts for patients with gynecologic and other cancers, or for education of the public about the need for effective screening programs.
The mission of this grant aligned with BHI’s proposal to conduct the Cervical Cancer Prevention and Education workshops for health promoters of El Salvador. Through this training, BHI sought to improve cervical cancer prevention efforts for the most vulnerable women in El Salvador. The campaign educated 150 health promoters in La Paz, El Salvador over the course of six 2-day educational courses. With 58.7% of the population between the target age range of 15 to 64, the cervical cancer informational campaigns targeted over 73,000 rural Salvadorans.
Read about it here.