Beyond Blood

We realised that to support the vision of democratised access to actionable health screening we needed to offer the most diverse set of sample collection kits on the market. We listened to the frustration of many customers who were struggling with onboarding and integrating multiple partners to deliver a complete suite of diagnostics, from request to result. 

Our brand new sample self-collection kits include urine, both untreated and with a nucleic acid preservation buffer, enabling sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing, urine microscopy & culture, and urine microbiome. Our genital swab kits support sexual health testing and provide much needed access to HPV screening. The global STI testing market is estimated to be north of $10Bn, and in the UK there has been a marked increase in rates of sexually transmitted infections, with gonorrhoea diagnoses in 2022 the highest ever recorded, and rates of antibiotic resistance rising. Chlamydia remains the most prevalent STI in the UK, but syphilis diagnoses have been growing rapidly, almost tripling in the past ten years to the highest levels since post-war 1948. 

There are many ways to obtain a test for STIs in the UK, including NHS sponsored services and consumer health options, with many patients opting for the privacy and convenience of at home tests. HPV screening and immunisations have become an integral tool in driving down rates of cervical cancer, with the NHS endorsing testing for high-risk strains. Some patients prefer the reassurance of more frequent testing offered by private companies.

Faecal immunochemical testing (FIT) is a cornerstone of preventive screening for colon cancer, now available through Hurdle. The NHS Bowel Cancer Screening program is a pioneering effort to provide FIT testing to everyone aged 60 to 74 years, and it has been expanding from 2021 over 4 years to provide testing to everyone from 50 to 59 as well. Today millions of people in the UK receive a FIT kit in the post every year, designed to detect traces of blood haemoglobin in stool, that could be a sign of polyps or colon cancer. A FIT result of >10ug Hb/g faeces is considered a low positive result, with a colon cancer detection rate of 3.3%, whereas a high positive of >100ug Hb/g faeces led to a 20.7% detection rate. But even with the most extensive screening programs in the world, there are arguments for expanding the reach of FIT screening for even younger people. 

A study in 2260 patients showed that double testing increased the sensitivity of cancer detection over single tests from 84.1% to 96.6%, so including two tests could become policy for national and private screening. Bowel cancer is the third most common cancer, affecting males more than females, and while rates have slightly decreased in older populations, the incidence in 25-49 year olds has nearly doubled in the past 20 years. Bowel cancer mortality is relatively high due to it often being asymptomatic for long periods, so screening allows for earlier detection, increasing the chances of survival. 

More new sample collection kits!

Gut health is all the rage in the present day, with more and more studies linking microbiome composition to health outcomes, and consumer health companies popularising and removing the stigma from stool testing. Our stool collection kits open up the world of microbiome and gastrointestinal biomarkers to our partners.

We have also been optimising our original saliva testing kits that we pioneered for both epigenetics analysis and PCR testing. Our revamped saliva collection kit further reduces costs for this non-invasive sampling method, and opens access to the world of genomics and epigenomics testing.

For our partners in continental Europe and the US, longer distances and extreme weather can impose limitations on sample integrity for blood testing. Dried blood spot (DBS) cards extend the shipping stability of many biomarkers. We have developed our new EU DBS card self-collection kits to give partners options for at-home blood biomarker testing with confidence. 

All of Hurdle’s sample collection kits are CE/UKCA marked and can be white labelled with partner branding.