Liquid biopsy could save prostate cancer patients

1 May 2018

A non-invasive liquid biopsy test for prostate cancer was awarded a £100,000 grant earlier this year.

Norwich Research Park based Cambridge Oncometrix has picked up funding from the SBRI Healthcare, the NHS backed initiative which supports the development of tech solutions to improve healthcare.

The latest round of funding has focused on cancer screening solutions and Cambridge Oncometrix is one of ten firms nationwide to share the £1m prize pot.

Though rates of cancer survival are at an all time high, instances of the disease are also on the up, and the NHS predicts that by 2035, 500,000 people a year will be diagnosed with cancer, a 40 per cent increase on current levels. This means early diagnosis will be ever more key to successful treatment.

Professor Stanley Kaye, professor of medical oncology at The Royal Marsden Hospital in London, said: Earlier cancer diagnosis is now a major priority in the UK.

With this in mind it has been extremely encouraging to have the opportunity to examine the projects brought forward by SBRI Healthcare, who have played a major role in this context.

The scope of the call was deliberately wide, the quality of applications was very high and judgement therefore challenging.

There are opportunities for improvement at various stages along the cancer journey, from initial presentation to more personalised screening and treatment, and the range of successful applications reflects this.

We certainly look forward to hearing of the initial findings. And for cancer patients in the UK we are confident tat the investment will be a worthwhile one.

Cambridge Oncometrixs test measures the chemical element profile of semen, which changes significantly when a tumour is present in the prostate.

Prostate liquid biopsy is a non-invasive and simple to administer, and will improve treatment outcomes by diagnosing prostate cancer earlier.

It is hoped the test will aid identification of men who will benefit from prostate biopsy and those who could safely forgo it, which will reduce the number of invasive biopsy procedures and post-biopsy complications, improve patients experience and efficient use of NHS resources.