New device could improve safety of routine testing for prostate cancer

Clinicians currently diagnose patients using a technique called trans-rectal ultrasound, which is where a small ultrasound probe inserted into the back passage. However, this method can be unpleasant, and have side effects such as urinary infections or risk of sepsis.

Cambridge researchers have devised a new tool, called the CamProbe, that allows biopsies to be taken via the transperineal route (under the scrotum) where a sample of tissue is removed from the prostate for examination under a microscope. This can be done under local anaesthesia.

No infections were detected using this technique in the pilot studies, compared with the 5-12% using the standard method, and most trial participants preferred the CamProbe test.

Now with further funding, clinical trials are underway to test the device on larger numbers of patients. If the results are positive, it will substantially improve the safety of routine testing for prostate cancer, reduce the risk of sepsis and antibiotic resistance and potentially save the NHS millions every year.

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