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Published: 09 November 2015

Charity support for breakthrough cancer test

Generous funding from the Hospital Saturday Fund (HFS) and the Chapman Charitable Trust is contributing to pioneering research to develop an accurate test to diagnose bladder cancer.

Two previous grants from the Saturday Fund to the University’s medical oncology group have had significant success in creating a diagnostic urinary test for bladder cancer using the Engrailed-2 (EN2) protein. The latest donations from the charities will allow the group to increase the accuracy and reproducibility of a biomarker for detecting the cancer.

Urine tests on 500 bladder cancer patients have shown that EN2 can be highly predictive of the presence of the disease. The limitation is that urine varies considerably depending on what we drink and this may affect the accuracy of the test.

A recent and exciting development has been the identification of small particles called exosomes which are released by cancer cells (in this case by bladder cancer cells into urine), which are not affected by how dilute or concentrated the urine is. As the particles contain a high concentration of the EN2 protein, it can be measured as a test.

Professor Hardev Pandha, who leads the group, said: “I would like to thank the Saturday Hospital Fund for its tremendous support. We urgently need a simple and accurate test to diagnose and monitor the disease and this latest donation will contribute significantly to better diagnosis in the future.”

About 10,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer every year. It’s the seventh most common cancer in the UK, and more than half of all new cases are people aged 75 and above.

The HSF funds specialilised equipment and treatments for people with a medical condition or disability and charities working on medical projects and research.

The Chapman Charitable Trust supports activity, health and well-being projects, including research, as well as culture, the natural environment and heritage.

Pictured, from left, are HSF Chair John Greenwood, Professor Pandha and HSF Chief Executive Paul Jackson.

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