Published: 15 March 2013

Licence deal signals major breakthrough in the battle against prostate cancer

A simple urine test that could save the lives of thousands of men with prostate cancer could soon be available worldwide, thanks to scientists from the University of Surrey.

The test offers a major breakthrough in the early detection of the disease, which kills around 11,000 UK men every year. It involves screening a sample of urine for the protein Engrailed-2 (EN2) which is produced by prostate cancers.

Two years of trials in both Europe and the United States have found the EN2 biomarker test is twice as effective as the 30-year-old PSA blood test currently used to detect prostate cancer.

The University of Surrey has now signed a worldwide non-exclusive agreement with international diagnostic specialist Zeus Scientific to develop and market the test. It is hoped it could be in use in GPs surgeries around the world within two years.

By detecting prostate cancer earlier, the test will help save lives and help doctors to better plan possible treatment. Hardev Pandha MD, PhD, Professor of Medical Oncology, University of Surrey, and Consultant Medical Oncologist, Royal Surrey County Hospital, said: “Our tests have shown that levels of EN2 correlate strongly with disease volume. Knowledge of disease volume may help urologists assess whether the patient has a small volume of disease that may be safely and actively monitored or a larger volume that needs to be treated.”

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

Colin Stokes, Chairman and co-founder of the Prostate Project, said: “This is a very significant moment for all men. It represents the real possibility of this simple, inexpensive and accurate urine test being in clinical use worldwide within two years. There is no doubt that it will save many lives and I would thank our many generous supporters who have helped make it possible.”

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