Pioneering test given £270k to help improve diagnosis of prostate cancer

Professor Colin Cooper, who is leading the project. Picture submitted by University of East Anglia.

Professor Colin Cooper, who is leading the project. Picture submitted by University of East Anglia. - Credit: Archant

Norwich scientists have been given £270,000 towards a pioneering test which could be used in the fight against a cancer that kills one man every 45 minutes.

The team at University of East Anglia has received the funding from Movember as part of Prostate Cancer UK's research innovation skill which is investing £2.8m into eight projects across the United Kingdom.

More than 11,500 men die from prostate cancer in the UK each year.

The UEA researchers have been developing a home urine test, called the PUR test, which could be used to indicate how aggressive a man's prostate cancer is and ensure they receive the right treatment.

Professor Colin Cooper, who is leading the research, said he hopes it will bring them one step closer towards a more accurate diagnosis for men everywhere.

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He said: "One of the biggest problems with diagnosing prostate cancer is that we currently can't say for sure which cancers are aggressive and need immediate treatment, and which will never do any harm."

The test will look at genetic material secreted by prostate cancer in urine.

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The team plan to recruit 450 men to pilot their test, which they hope will be able to predict how aggressive a man's cancer is without an invasive biopsy.

Researchers hope to explore if the test could be used to monitor men who have been diagnosed with a non-aggressive form of the disease.

Prof Cooper said: "That's why we're so excited about this test, which could give men and their doctors more certainty about the best course of treatment.

"It could even be taken at home, so men won't need to visit the clinic, and could avoid an invasive biopsy."

Prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men which mainly affects men over 50, with risks increasing with age.

Prostate Cancer UK has invested more than £11m into research over the past four years.

Simon Grieveson, head of research funding at Prostate Cancer UK, said: "This research could revolutionise prostate cancer diagnosis and give men the assurance they need to choose the right treatment for them.

"We need to fund more research like this, which is why we're asking everyone to help support Prostate Cancer UK as we continue to fund research into better tests and treatment for men with prostate cancer."

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