BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) has entered a collaboration agreement with US-based Techcyte to develop an artificial intelligence (AI)-based digital cervical cytology system for Pap testing (Pap smear).

The algorithm will be designed to guide cytologists and pathologists in the efficient and effective identification of cervical cancer and precancers using whole-slide imaging.

According to BD, the complete solution aims to lower the chance of human error and enable greater throughput.

This will help laboratories achieve results with more standardisation, reproducibility and efficiency from a Pap test, BD said.

BD Diagnostic Solutions acting president Nikos Pavlidis said: “There is a shortage of healthcare laboratory technicians, and the problem is particularly acute in the area of cytology.

“This solution helps solve for the dearth of expert cytologists by leveraging new AI-based digital technology to make the testing process efficient and bring the traditional Pap test into the 21st century.”

In the digital cervical cytology system, the samples can be scanned, transformed into a digital slide image, and then viewed remotely or on a lab computer monitor.

Furthermore, the system presents clinically significant cells for visual inspection using an AI-based algorithm that prioritises them.

The cervical cytology system will integrate Techcyte’s AI-based algorithm for identifying evidence of cervical cancer and precancerous lesions.

The Techcyte platform is said to be compatible with common whole-slide images on the market and is compatible with liquid-based cytology (LBC) preparations, such as the BD SurePath Liquid-based Pap Test vial.

The Techcyte system is CE-marked per the IVD directive for clinical use in Europe.

Techcyte CEO Ben Cahoon said: Our digital workflow supported by an AI-based algorithm can assist lab professionals in delivering consistent results for their patients.

“Our system presents the most diagnostically relevant cell images to guide the cytotechnologists and pathologists for efficient review and better decision making.”

Commercial availability of the BD and Techcyte IVDD solution is anticipated in Europe during the first half of 2024. In the US, it is subject to the US Food and Drug Administration’s approval for clinical usage.