Aberystwyth researchers taking ‘groundbreaking’ steps to improve prostate cancer diagnosis

An innovative new research project aimed at improving the diagnosis of prostate cancer is taking place at the Aberystwyth University.

Funded by The Prostate Cancer Charity, it is hoped that if successful, this study will help doctors to more clearly see the size and location of a man's prostate cancer in order to make better decisions about the right treatment to use.

Current methods of visualising prostate cancer at diagnosis can sometimes give an unclear picture of exactly how far the disease has spread. Lead researcher Professor Reyer Zwiggelaar received £60,100 to supervise a PhD project to investigate the novel idea of combining magnetic resonance (MRI) and ultrasound results to give a more detailed initial map of where prostate cancer is present in the body.

Professor Zwiggelaar, Department of Computer Science, Aberystwyth University, explains "Making decisions following a diagnosis of prostate cancer is a very stressful time for many men, and this is made worse by the uncertainty around current methods for diagnosis. By investigating the benefits of combining ultrasound and MRI, we plan to develop a method which enables us to build a more accurate view of individual prostate tumours than we do currently. We hope that improvements to the accuracy of diagnosis will allow for more confidence in deciding which treatments to use, and hopefully increase the success of these treatments."

This grant has been awarded to Professor Zwiggelaar and Aberystwyth University, as part of The Prostate Cancer Charity's ongoing program of investment in research to help tackle the disease. This year, the Charity has awarded over £2 million - its biggest research investment to date - to institutions across the UK designed to improve diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer.

Dr Kate Holmes, Research Manager at The Prostate Cancer Charity said: "One of the biggest challenges in prostate cancer research is actually being able to accurately diagnose the disease. We chose to fund this groundbreaking project as we believe it will give doctors the answers they need in order to more accurately diagnose and treat the tumour and help provide real benefit to men in the early stages of their disease. We are looking forward to working closely with the team and eagerly await the results of the study."