Australian HPV Reference Laboratory

Leveraging our expertise to help reduce HPV-related disease.

ACPCC and VCS Pathology is home to the Australian HPV Reference Laboratory. Launched in November 2021, the laboratory assists a range of stakeholders in the National Cervical Screening Program (NCSP) to adapt to the changing landscape of HPV-based cervical screening.

As the Australian HPV Reference Laboratory, we provide a wide range of services from supporting national and international Quality Assurance Programs to providing specialist testing and review. The laboratory works with a range of stakeholders including quality control and HPV assay manufacturers, other laboratories, clinicians, and researchers within Australia and abroad to enhance and monitor the performance HPV tests, technology and laboratory procedures to help reduce HPV-related disease.

As the Australian HPV Reference Laboratory, VCS Pathology provides: 

  • expertise and laboratory services for the evaluation of HPV detection in biological specimens including activities that build capacity    
  • standardised up-to-date technical information, technical advice, guidance and training on HPV laboratory practices and quality assurance   
  • testing services linked to the development and use of international standard reagents and operating procedures in laboratory HPV testing  
  • a sample archive/biobank which is used to support HPV based developments to reduce the incidence and impact of HPV-related disease.

"The Australian HPV Reference Laboratory supports a wide range of stakeholders of the National Cervical Screening Program in understanding how HPV sample collection, testing and result interpretation contribute to improved screening outcomes.” — Associate Professor Dave Hawkes

Cervical Screening

Supporting the National Cervical Screening Program and pathology services

Since the commencement of HPV-based screening in the National Cervical Screening Program we have seen rapid change within this sector — from the types of HPV tests available, what these tests are screening for, equipment used in administering and processing these tests, and the way samples are collected. HPV self-collection (initially introduced to increase engagement with never-screened and under-screened populations) recently became available to all eligible participants within the NCSP, changing cervical screening in Australia.

Throughout these changes, the Australian HPV Reference Laboratory will continue to provide vital support and leadership to the NCSP and pathology laboratories.

HPV Testing

Researching the future of HPV testing

The Australian HPV Reference Laboratory research activities continue to support the National Cervical Screening Program to review and develop the program as new information, analysis and technologies become available. Work is being done on alternative triage strategies in support of HPV-based screening, surveillance of circulating HPV types in both screening and pre-screening aged populations and using technology to increase access to cervical screening in remote locations by facilitating point of care HPV testing.

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