Researchers have secured funding of nearly £800,000 from the NIHR Invention for Innovation (i4i) scheme to take a novel test for prostate cancer from a prototype to a CE-marked device for clinical application.
The CamProbe (Cambridge Prostate Biopsy Device), developed by Mr Vincent Gnanapragasam (University lecturer and Consultant Urologist at Cambridge University Hospitals) and his team, is a safer biopsy method for the early detection of prostate cancer, the most common cancer in men in the UK.
The current method of diagnosing prostate cancer is with a needle biopsy of the prostate guided by a transrectal ultrasound probe inserted into the rectum. This method and carries a significant risk of side effects including urinary infections and severe sepsis as the needle traverses the bowel a number of times on the way to the prostate.
The CamProbe will allow biopsies to be performed through the much more sterile transperineal route under local anaesthesia. In pilot trials the CamProbe resulted in no infections compared to rates of 5-12% from the current transrectal biopsy method. Moreover 8/10 men preferred the CamProbe approach over the current transrectal biopsy method and would recommend it to a relative or friend.
Mr Gnanapragasam, who co-leads the Urological Malignancies Programme at the CRUK Cambridge Centre said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to improve prostate cancer diagnotics and I am delighted that NIHR have chosen to invest in the CamProbe. Its use in hospital outpatient departments will mean a positive change in the experience of patients referred with suspected prostate cancer and a much safer way to diagnose the disease.”
This is the largest, NIHR i4Ii award to be awarded to the University of Cambridge and only the second in a cancer theme. The i4i scheme funds the development of new healthcare technologies, devices and interventions for increased patient benefit in areas of existing or emerging clinical need.