We need your support to launch a new prostate cancer test
We all know that prostate cancer is devastating lives. Every year, it kills 11,000 men in the UK and far more around the world. Those who survive often face invasive and damaging treatments, with side effects including incontinence and impotence. But, for many, the treatment is completely unnecessary.
Because, surprisingly, most cases of prostate cancer are near-harmless and can be managed by regular checks with a doctor. But there is currently no way for doctors to distinguish between aggressive, life-threatening ‘tiger’ cancers, and harmless ‘pussycat’ instances.
The result? They have to treat everyone.
Clinical trials have shown that for every 21 men who undergo surgery for prostate cancer – a painful operation that can lead to impotence and incontinence – just one man has a dangerous ‘tiger’ cancer. There was never any need for the other 20 to go through radical surgery and radiotherapy.
Our hospitals are strained. Doctors are distracted from the most critical patients. And millions of men around the world are being put through needless treatment.
The Tiger Test is making great strides
Thanks to more than a decade of cutting-edge research, Professor Cooper and his team have found a method to tell the harmful prostate cancers from the harmful. Professor Cooper calls this work the Tiger Test, and a short video about his work can be found here.
Finally, we can tell the tigers from the pussycats.
It’s all down to more than a decade of ground-breaking research and analysis by Professor Cooper and his team. They’ve unravelled the genetic information behind prostate cancer using a decade of analysis by artificial intelligence. But they need the help of people like you to complete the research.
We aim to raise £2.2 million to enable Professor Cooper and his team make the Tiger Test available to men around the world. Please, will you help make the Tiger Test a reality?
Your support can help fund clinical trials, set up a screening laboratory and fund the research to its completion. The final step to making the Tiger Test available to men around the world.
How you can help
Please donate now to help the Tiger Test begin saving lives. With your support, we can fund the clinical trials needed to have the test adopted by the NHS and hospitals around the world.
If you’d like to find out more, or make a larger gift, contact David Ellis, Development Manager in the Development Office at UEA on +44 (0)1603 592 945.
Broccoli research trial
- Men who eat diets rich in green-leaf vegetables, such as broccoli, have been shown to have a lower chance of developing prostate cancer, or of their cancer becoming more aggressive. To investigate this connection further, UEA and the Institute of Food Research are conducting a study into how men identified as being ‘at risk’ of prostate cancer respond to eating more broccoli.
- The trial asks 100 men with prostate cancer to eat a special broccoli and stilton soup one a week for a year. By comparing a biopsy from the beginning and end of the trial, the team will be able to study the impact of the special compound found in broccoli (called ‘sulforaphane’).
- The results of this study could not only feed into future dietary advice for men who are at risk but could be important for drug development.
- More than half of all men over 50yrs are thought to have cancer cells in their prostate, but only about 10% of those cells will ever become life-threatening. So for the majority of patients the cancer cells will never cause any symptoms – these are the ‘pussycat’ cancers. The cancers that progress and become life threatening are the ‘tiger’ cancers.
- This is a major problem for doctors and patients because, at the moment, there is no reliable test to distinguish between the pussycats and the tigers. Improved bio markers are therefore needed to develop a test which will allow radical therapies and treatments to be targeted to men with aggressive cancers, and for those with pussycat cancers to be spared the side-effects of treatment.
- To develop this test, Professor Cooper and his team are looking for common characteristics and signs in urine samples from 600 men being treated for prostate cancer at the hospital. Identifying this set of common characteristics (or biomarkers) and developing a reliable “pussycat or tiger” test would radically change the diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer for patients.
- Cancer is a genetic disease. This is why a major strand of the team’s work focuses on genome sequencing and the study of mutated cancer genes. Researching genes that have errors, and how they mutate, will deepen our understanding of cancer, how it develops and how to treat it.
- Through all our research strands we are gathering a huge amount of genetic samples and data to inform our research. Through a collaboration between medicine and computing at UEA, we can use Big Data analysis and supercomputers to identify common characteristics and new possibilities.
- This is an exciting period of rapid progress driven by new technology. However, progress is only possible with the right tools, along with the expert staff to use them.
What will donations to Prostate Cancer Research support?
The fund is dedicated to supporting the work of Professor Colin Cooper’s team, your donation could support:
- New clinical trials
- New researcher posts to grow the team
- Partnerships with other research institutions
- Research equipment and facilities