Mr Grant Stewart, University Lecturer in Department of Surgery, and Professor Russell Cowburn FRS, Professor of Experimental Physics, have been successful in their application to the Rosetrees Trust Interdisciplinary Prize 2018 for their project entitled “Screening at Point-of-care for Early Assessment of Renal cell cancer (SPEAR)”. The joint project aims to develop a non-invasive, urine-based diagnostic test for renal cell cancers using lithographically-defined magnetic carrier (LMC) technology. There is no premalignant condition for kidney cancer in which to intervene, and >50% of all patients present incidentally, including almost all small renal cancers. Metastatic kidney cancer is treated with multiple expensive agents and is incurable. Conversely, surgical removal of small renal cancers is usually curative (95% 10-year metastasis free survival). Without a premalignant condition, there is a pressing unmet need to develop an early diagnostic test for kidney cancer to help shift the identification to an earlier, surgically curable stage.
Mr Stewart and Professor Cowburn were first introduced to each other at the 2017 CRUK Cambridge Centre Early Detection Programme garden party by programme co-lead Sarah Bohndiek. Mr Stewart comments “Without the ED programme’s multidisciplinary leadership and structure this link would never have been made.” The award is due to commence in Autumn 2018.