Combining markers with imaging for improved diagnosis of aggressive prostate cancer

In a nutshell

The researchers aim to combine biomarkers (molecules in the body that help to determine the presence or severity of a disease), in combination with recent advances in MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), to improve the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer in a way that can easily be adopted by the NHS.

Why we funded it

Currently there is a problem with over-diagnosis for men with low-grade prostate cancer. Some men are being unnecessarily treated when they could have their cancers monitored using imaging instead. On the other hand, some men with aggressive cancer aren’t being detected and treated early enough. More thorough diagnosis methods would mean that in future we can diagnose men more accurately and give both them and their doctors more confidence to make treatment decisions.

Progress so far (Year 1 of 3)

A year in and the Whitaker team have developed a new technique to improve the way that researchers study biopsy samples and are planning to publish this so that other researchers can benefit. There has been a short delay to the project, as the researchers have needed additional ethics approval to work with the tissue of people in the study, but the team have recruited an extra person to help work on the project for the next six months to get them back on track.

Grant information

Researcher - Dr Hayley Whitaker
Institution – University College London
Grant award - £306,369.00
Reference - PG14-014