CAPC researcher wins Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Ultimate Women Award
10 December 2014
Dr Neha Pathak, a researcher at the Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol, has been awarded the ‘Ultimate Game Changer’ prize at the Cosmopolitan Ultimate Women Awards.
The award is in recognition of Dr Pathak’s research which discovered a simple urine human papillomavirus (HPV) test could offer women a more acceptable, non-invasive alternative to the smear test – the conventional test for cervical disease.
The study, published earlier this year in the BMJ, could one day make a difference to the lives of millions of women. Last year, it is estimated a million women failed to attend a routine smear test – many because of embarrassment – despite 900 women dying of cervical cancer every year.
Dr Pathak’s research, which she conducted at Queen Mary University of London, is a crucial first step on a road to alternative screening methods. However, years of studying and improving urine testing methods will be essential before it’s possible to roll out as an official screening method.
Dr Pathak, who is currently an EBI Clinical Primer at the Centre for Academic Primary Care at the University of Bristol, said: ‘I am truly delighted to win this award. I am passionate about my research and this study is just the beginning of what I hope will be a long journey working to improve the health and lives of women. I thank everyone I’ve worked with at QMUL’s Women’s Health Research Unit who’s supported and inspired me.’
Professor Khalid Khan, Head of the Women’s Health Research Unit, Queen Mary University of London, said: ‘We couldn’t be more proud of Neha. She’s achieved a tremendous amount for her young age and she plays an important role within our team. Her work on a potential urine test for HPV truly is game-changing and to have this recognised by Cosmopolitan Magazine, which reaches millions of young women, is a huge achievement’.
Louise Court, Editor-in-Chief at Cosmopolitan, said: “With so many young women missing their smear tests, Dr Neha Pathak’s research is both pivotal and truly ground-breaking and has the potential to save so many lives worldwide. Most importantly, HPV urine tests may help to provide a cheaper and faster method of screening for women in poorer countries, where healthcare isn’t affordable. Neha is an absolute inspiration to us all and I’m delighted she was able to celebrate her award win with us last night.”
Dr Pathak is currently working with Prof Gene Feder at the University of Bristol's Centre for Academic Primary Care conducting a research project aimed at improving the way sexual health services respond to survivors of domestic violence and abuse.