The MCF donated £190,000 to fund research into the diagnosis of prostate cancer at the University of East Anglia (UEA).
In September, UEA sent us an update on the impact of our support, which you can read below.
Over the past decade, Professor Colin Cooper and his team at UEA have been working to improve the accuracy of prostate cancer diagnosis to better inform who does or doesn’t require radical treatment. Prof Cooper’s work has evolved into two revolutionary new tests: the Tiger Test, which will enable clinicians to distinguish aggressive forms of prostate cancer from slow-growing ones, and the Prostate Urine Risk (PUR) Test – a non-invasive urine test to more accurately diagnose aggressive prostate cancers up to five years earlier than current methods. These developments could help transform prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment, and improve and save lives around the world.
How your gift is making a difference
Your donation of £190,000 towards Prostate Cancer Research at UEA has enabled us to purchase an Affymetrix Microarray Scanner which was installed in the purpose-built Diagnostic Screening Laboratory in the Bob Champion Research and Education Building in January.
The scanner will enable the team to collect Affymetrix expression arrays profile data from prostate cancer cells in a computer readable format to calculate if a patient has a high-risk ‘tiger’ cancer or a low-risk cancer.
With the Diagnostic Screening Laboratory set up and equipment in place, the team was primed to begin clinical trials for the Tiger Test. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent lockdown restrictions forced us to postpone commencement of the trials until a time when our researchers could work safely in the lab, and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital had the necessary capacity, time and resources to support the work without limiting their response to the COVID-19 crisis.
In spite of the limitations the team has faced, they have made every effort to progress the research where possible. Bioinformatic analysis has continued through lockdown restrictions, and the team has been working hard to ensure that their vital research is published, an important step in promoting the project within the scientific community, garnering support and forging external links to advance the research into a clinical test once it has been validated through trials.
During the lockdown period, the team has published two papers reporting advances in how to use the Tiger Test in a clinical setting, as well as the introduction of a new mathematical analysis approach that is even quicker than the previous method. The team has also discovered how to use the Tiger Test together with conventional clinical markers, expanding the scope of how this test can support clinicians.
The team has also used this time to finalise the structure of the home urine collection kit for the PUR test, and is currently producing 1,500 kits ready to send out to collect the necessary data for their clinical research.
Your support has been invaluable in making this vital research a reality, bringing hope to millions of men and their families across the world. With the easing of lockdown restrictions, the team is now preparing to begin clinical trials as soon as possible, and we look forward to updating you on the progress of these trials in due course. Thank you again for your support.