SDHB to take note of screening trial results

There is always interest in new technology for bowel cancer screening, the Southern District Health Board says.

However, a new trial of breathalyser equipment used to detect the condition was still in its early stages.

Trials will start soon across New Zealand for the technology, which is a collaboration between Callaghan Innovation, the University of Otago, a British university and a tech company in Christchurch.

Callaghan Innovation principal research scientist Joseph Deere said the project was already in discussions with Capital and Coast, and Canterbury district health boards, to see where it could fit at a clinical level.

It could prove useful for regions such as Southland and South Otago where there were limited resources and facilities for bowel screening, he said.

Southern DHB gastroenterology clinical leader Dr Jason Hill said it had not been approached by the people involved in trialling the technology.

"We are always interested in new technologies and will be interested to see how this particular technology develops.

"It is important to note that it is still undergoing feasibility trials to help determine its future clinical utility."

The choice of bowel screening test in New Zealand was determined by the Ministry of Health, based on best evidence and specialist opinion, he said.

"As far as we are aware, none of the bowel screening programmes internationally has implemented this technology at such an early development phase.

"However, we look forward to hearing the results of trials when they are made available."

The bowel screening programme at the health board was "extremely successful" and had detected cancers in more than 180 patients, who would not have known otherwise, alongside removing potentially pre-cancerous lesions in many more since it began in April 2018, he said.


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