Researcher - Dr Hayley Whitaker
Institution - University College London
Grant award - £450,112
Reference – PG14-018-TR2

Hayley Whitaker

In a nutshell

This project looks into which patients will benefit from diagnostic multiparametric (mp)MRI before biopsy and how the performance of the mpMRI itself can be improved by imaging the prostate in greater detail.

Why we funded it

mpMRI is an important tool for cancer diagnosis but using it on all men with suspected prostate cancer would be very expensive for the NHS. Improving the MRI scan and refining which men would benefit most from having the MRI the process would make the process more efficient and affordable. This will improve the diagnosis of patients with aggressive prostate cancer but also help to reduce the number of men undergoing unnecessary biopsies.

Progress so far (year 1 of 3)

The researchers have completed a small study of 50 patients to train radiographers to interpret the MRI images and set up all of the biomarker tests. This study has shown that some biomarkers can only be tested in the blood and not in urine. Several of the biomarkers look very interesting and able to distinguish men with cancer from men with benign prostate conditions. They have set up new collaborations with other researchers to take advantage of any blood and urine they collect from the patients on this study. They have also developed a further pilot study to establish exactly what a new form of MRI, called VERDICT, is detecting in prostate cancer.

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