Biohit Oyj and Suomen Terveystalo Oy sign a project contract
Main Market, 2012-09-19 15:30 CEST (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Biohit Oyj and
Terveystalo have signed a project contract in which Biohit will offer
laboratory diagnostic services for the customers of Terveystalo. As a part of
the project contract entity, Terveystalo will organise a screening for the risk
of gastric cancer together with the Regional Health Care of Keski-Satakunta.
Biohit will analyse the samples gathered by Terveystalo in its own laboratory
GastroPanel is a blood sample test that differentiates between healthy and sick
stomachs in a reliable way and prioritises patients in need of further
“We are looking forward to cooperation with Biohit as the comprehensive
GastroPanel service they offer provides an easy way to locate diseases of the
abdominal area. Early diagnosis and quick treatment of these diseases saves
public health care costs. At the same time, the service complements
Terveystalo’s existing service offering in a natural way. We can see that the
project contract regarding the GastroPanel examination suits our strategic
objective to be the pioneer of health care, who actively develops Finnish
health care without prejudice and in an innovative way, providing customer
benefits to both the private and public sector. We believe that the goals are
achievable through the project contract work for promoting the health of Finns
and preventing diseases and costs incurred by them to society,” says Jari
Karhu, Manager at Terveystalo.
Semi Korpela, President and CEO of Biohit, is also satisfied with the contract.
“It is a significant opening which, when successful, will give Biohit good
resources for developing the GastroPanel service concept together with
Terveystalo and will make GastroPanel available for all Finns through the
nation wide service network of Terveystalo.”
Biohit Oyj in brief
Biohit Oyj is a Finnish biotechnology company operating globally that was
established in 1988. Biohit’s mission is “Innovating for Health” and “Cancer
Prevention”. The purpose of the company is to take social responsibility and
produce innovation, new technologies and analysis systems for use in medicine,
research institutions and industry, helping to promote research and diagnostics
and to improve the quality of life of people by means of preventing disease,
human suffering and financial loss. It is also our duty to innovate and develop
the marketing and availability of our products and services.
Terveystalo in brief
Terveystalo is Finland’s largest privately-owned health service company. Our
customers include private persons, companies and organisations, insurance
companies as well as the public sector. We offer various health, occupational
health, health care and research services in over 60 localities in almost 150
establishments all over Finland, and we employ 6,500 health care professionals.
In 2011, Terveystalo invested EUR 118 millions in developing Finnish health
For further details, contact:
Semi Korpela, President and CEO
Tel. +358 9 773 86 333
Jari Karhu, Screening Services Manager, Diagnostics
Tel +358 30 63 31720
Additional Information on GastroPanel research
Biohit Oyj has developed the GastroPanel biomarker tests, a unique blood sample
examination for the screening and diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori infection
and damage or dysfunction of the mucous membrane (atrophic gastritis) of the
stomach. Unlike the H. pylori examinations still being used (13C urea breath
test and stool antigen test), the GastroPanel test reliably detects H. pylori
infection, the typically asymptomatic condition atrophic gastritis, and
associated risks including cancer.
The April 2012 Maastricht IV consensus report of the European Helicobacter
Pylori Study Group recommends blood sample biomarker tests as a reliable method
of diagnosis of diseases of the stomach mucosa and associated risk conditions.
Researchers recommend biomarker tests for the diagnosis and follow-up of H.
pylori infection and especially for atrophic gastritis that causes achlorhydric
stomach, in addition to recommending the screening of asymptomatic patients.
The report emphasises the fact that H. pylori eradication therapy does not cure
precancerous gastric conditions. This is why gastroscopy and biopsy examination
are recommended at regular intervals of 2-3 years for patients with moderately
severe or severe atrophic gastritis. Without gastroscopy and biopsy
examination, atrophic gastritis in the entire stomach (precancerous condition)
and its location can only be diagnosed with a GastroPanel biomarker test.
The international Healthy Stomach Initiative group’s 16 gastroenterology
experts from 12 countries (www.hsinitiative.org) came to the same conclusions.
GastroPanel biomarker tests can be used to diagnose and screen atrophic
gastritis and related risks in both asymptomatic patients and patients with
abdominal discomfort (www.biohithealthcare.com: Investors/ Stock Exchange
Releases: 17/02/2012 Biohit Oyj’s GastroPanel biomarker test recommended).
According to the taskforce, GastroPanel biomarker tests, unlike the H. pylori
tests still in use, reliably diagnose the most significant risk conditions of
the acid-free stomach (atrophic gastritis). With the help of the GastroPanel
test, patients can be referred to appropriate further examinations, therapy and
treatment. At the same time it is also possible to reliably diagnose patients
who have a “healthy” stomach, i.e. patients who do not have H. pylori infection
and/or atrophic gastritis (an acid-free stomach which is the highest known
risk factor for stomach cancer and also risk factor for oesophageal cancer).
Acid-free stomach produces carcinogenic acetaldehyde
An IARC (WHO agency on cancer research) classification of October 2009 states
that acetaldehyde in alcoholic beverages and naturally generated in alcohol is
a group 1 carcinogen and is therefore as carcinogenic as H. pylori, asbestos,
formaldehyde and benzene.
GastroPanel biomarker tests reliably detect an anacidic stomach which is the
major risk factor of gastric cancer. In addition, the authors state that
acetaldehyde generated in an anacidic stomach is a significant reason for
gastric and oesophageal cancer risk associated with the condition.
Microbes from the mouth can colonise an acid-free stomach and produce
carcinogenic acetaldehyde from sugar and alcohol. According to gene studies
this is one of the major risk factors of gastric and oesophageal cancer. The
risk can be reduced with the help of another Finnish innovation -
prescription-free Acetium capsules, which are taken during food and alcohol
consumption, to bind (neutralise) carcinogenic acetaldehyde in the stomach
reveals the acetaldehyde exposure,
www.biohithealthcare.com/Investors/stockexchange and press releases 20th July
2012: European Patent Awarded to Biohit Oyj’s Acetium) .
The state-of-the-art, safe and cost-effective GastroPanel examination does not
involve any of the medical problems related with the tests described below:
•The 13C urea breath test (UBT), stool antigen test and antibody tests alone do
not detect atrophic gastritis of the corpus caused by H. pylori infection or
autoimmune disease, or atrophic gastritis of the antrum caused by H. pylori
infection. Atrophic gastritis is almost always asymptomatic and usually
• Undiagnosed atrophic gastritis of the corpus (unacidic stomach) may cause
gastric and oesophageal cancer and malabsorption of vitamin B12, iron,
magnesium, calcium and certain drugs.
• Calcium deficiency causes osteoporosis. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause
pernicious anaemia, dementia, depression and damage to the peripheral nervous
• The absorption of several drugs such as dipyridamole, some iron products and
antifungals (fluconazole, itraconazole), thyroxine and atazanavir is
considerably impaired in an achlorhydric stomach. Particularly in senior
citizens, the risk of severe intestinal infections (such as giardiasis,
malaria, Clostridium difficile and E. coli EHEC) increases.
• Atrophic gastritis in the gastric antrum increases the risk of peptic ulcer
disease and gastric cancer. If both the antrum and corpus mucosa are atrophic,
this condition poses the highest risk for gastric cancer known to date. In some
cases, gastric cancer is directly caused by H. pylori and gastritis. Less than
1% of the population has hereditary gastric cancer.
• Furthermore, none of the aforementioned three H. pylori tests provide any
information on excessive gastric acid secretion, which in patients with
gastro-oesophageal reflux disease may cause complications from this disease.
Such complications are often asymptomatic and include ulcerative oesophagitis
and Barrett’s oesophagus, which may lead to oesophageal cancer if left
untreated. If complications of the gastroesophageal reflux disease are
suspected due to excessive acid secretion, or if the patient has atrophic
gastritis or symptomatic H. pylori infection, gastroscopy is required to rule
out cancer and other risks.
• In addition, the 13C urea breath test and stool antigen test may give up to
40% false negative results: in other words, the infection including cancer and
other risks may be left undiagnosed if the patient has atrophic gastritis, MALT
lymphoma or bleeding peptic ulcer disease, or if the patient is currently
receiving antibiotics or PPI treatment.
In order to prevent medical malpractice, unnecessary costs and even unnecessary
deaths caused by cancer, the current H. pylori tests should be replaced by the
GastroPanel biomarker examination. With the GastroPanel tests readily
available, treating patients suffering from stomach discomfort without further
diagnosis can no longer be justified. Risky self-treatment of stomach
discomforts may delay the diagnosis of, for example, precancerous gastric
lesions until the disease has progressed beyond treatment.
Approximately one-third of the population in Finland suffer from stomach
discomfort. Tens of thousands of patients from this group receive proton pump
inhibitor (PPI) treatment or take prescription-free PPI medication, regardless
of the fact that they already have an unacidic stomach caused by atrophic
gastritis and the associated risks of cancer and other diseases.
Osteoporosis and vitamin B12 deficiency represent a major public health problem
among the elderly, and may typically be caused by asymptomatic undiagnosed
atrophic gastritis. A person with an autoimmune atrophic gastritis of the
corpus may simultaneously suffer from an another autoimmune disease, such as
thyroiditis, celiac disease, rheumatoid arthritis and type 1 diabetes; or vice
versa, a person with an autoimmune thyroid disease and type 1 diabetes often
suffers from autoimmune asymptomatic atrophic gastritis and the resulting risk
of gastric and oesophageal cancer as well as vitamin B12 deficiency.
GastroPanel helps to detect at-risk patients in time and refer them to
gastroscopy and treatment.
Literature on GastroPanel
1.Malfertheiner et al. Management of Helicobacter pylori infection. The
Maastricht IV/ Florence Consensus Report. gut-bmj.com on May 18, 2012. European
Helicobacter Pylori Study Group, ESPSG
2.Agreus et al. Rationale in diagnosis and screening of atrophic gastritis with
stomach-specific plasma biomarkers, Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
2012; 47: 136 – 147)
3.WHO. http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2009/pdfs/pr196_E.pdf 2011