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Cardiff University scientists awarded additional £10k to drive forward diagnosis of prostate cancer

13 December 2021

Patient and nurse

Researchers at Cardiff University are developing a simple blood test, which can predict the severity of an individual’s prostate cancer diagnosis, without the need for invasive biopsies.

The research team, led by Professor Aled Clayton, are developing an exciting and innovative test to aid the diagnosis and risk assessment of prostate cancer. The test will measure proteins present in the blood on the outer surface of small vesicles which originate from the tumour, and it’s hoped it will help clinicians understand more about how a prostate cancer will develop. This test will provide additional information, alongside the traditional PSA blood test, and MRI scans. This supporting information will help make decisions in situations where cancer is probably present, but its severity and aggressivity is uncertain. The aim is to minimise unnecessary biopsy procedures, and also provide additional information that helps assess the risk of aggressive disease.

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer affecting men, with over 50,000 new diagnoses in the UK every year. It can vary in its type, and for many men the disease will be slow and unlikely to cause life threatening disease. For other men, the cancer may take a more severe form requiring clinical intervention. Recognising aggressive disease as early as possible is important, and developing a blood test for this is likely to save lives.

Charity Prostate Cymru have provided an additional £10,000 of funding towards the project, which will support the work of a Technical Specialist who is currently funded by the Wales Cancer Research Centre.

Professor Clayton, based at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine and the Wales Cancer Research Centre, said: “Our ambition is that this test will give doctors helpful information allowing them to be more certain about the need for a biopsy. If the test works well, it may replace biopsy altogether- which would be a fantastic advance. It will ultimately help doctors make the right decision for an individual’s treatment, so they receive the very best outcomes and care.”

“The funding from Prostate Cymru will help ensure our team have access to the essential laboratory reagents to develop the test and to drive this project forward.”

Tina Tew, CEO of Prostate Cymru, said: “We are delighted to be supporting Professor Clayton and his team with their important work. As a charity, one of our key aims is to help fund innovation across Wales, and we look forward to seeing the outcome of their research.”

Find out more about how to help support cancer research at Cardiff University.