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Breakthrough for Surrey’s life-saving cancer test

Pioneering urine test could be available in GPs' surgeries worldwide by 2015.

The University of Surrey has signed a licence deal to develop and market a groundbreaking new test that detects prostate and bladder cancers.

The test offers a more reliable way of discovering these cancers earlier, by testing a small urine sample for the EN2 protein which bladder and prostate cancers produce.

Clinical trials in both Europe and the United States have found that the EN2 biomarker test is twice as effective as the 30-year-old PSA blood test currently used to detect prostate cancers, which kill around 11,000 UK men every year. The test is also highly specific for the detection of bladder cancer.

It’s hoped the deal with Randox, an international clinical diagnostics company, could lead to the test being made available in GP surgeries around the world by 2015. 

Hardev Pandha, Professor of Medical Oncology, is part of the team working on the project with Dr Richard Morgan, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Oncology.  He said, "We are looking forward to working with Randox on this product. This new test could lead to a faster cancer detection that could save hundreds of lives, and also offers the potential for huge cost savings.’’

“Unlike previous tests that require invasive procedures to define the amount of prostate cancer in the patient, our studies show that simply analysing EN2 protein levels in urine from patients gives us a strong indication as to how much disease is present. We know larger prostate cancers will spread, so an accurate non-invasive methods of assessing disease volume will help a doctor assess whether the disease may be safely monitored (i.e. patient has a small cancer), or whether it is likely to spread to other organs and so requires immediate treatment.”

The research that led to the development of the test was jointly funded by the University and the Surrey-based Prostate Project charity.

Find out more about this research on the EN2 website.

Learn more about cancer research at Surrey and our undergraduate and postgraduate programmes in the field of Biosciences and Medicine.

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