A Cancer diagnostic company located in Sunderland and Cambridge has secured £2m to further developing a non-invasive urine test for the detection of prostate and bladder cancer.

The company, UroSens Ltd, received the funding in a round led by Longwall Venture Partners, with participation from shareholders including Northstar Ventures, Esperante BV, Cambridge Capital Group and other shareholders. UroSens says the money will allow it to expand its commercial and technical team, finalise product development and commercialise its UroSens Mcm5-ELISA diagnostic test. Mcm5 is a protein which only appears when cells divide, and is a marker for the presence of dividing cancer cells.

The company is seeking to undertake further clinical trials in Europe and the United States to expand the applications of the Mcm5 test. UroSens says that, although there are more than 40,000 new cases of prostate cancer and 11,000 of bladder cancer each year in the UK, current diagnostic tests are unreliable, resulting in many unnecessary and invasive biopsies. For both diseases, the UroSens Mcm5-ELISA diagnostic test is expected to significantly reduce the number of patients undergoing invasive procedures.

Dr Ian Campbell, CEO at UroSens, said: “This investment round will enable us to expand our team and bring our novel assay to the market, providing patients with a simple non-invasive test for both bladder and prostate cancer.” David Denny, of Longwall Venture Partners, said: “The clinical trial results evidence the diagnostic capability of the UroSens technology and the strength of the team. This is an exciting year as the company develops and launches its first products and we are delighted to be involved and able to support.”
Alex Buchan, Investment Manager at Northstar Ventures, said: “This technology is really exciting because for the first time, it is possible to detect the presence of cancers using urine samples rather than unpleasant, invasive methods. The speed and cost of the test makes screening a real possibility and there is a tremendous potential for tests for other cancers as well.”

Salts support bone health

Research from the University of Surrey has found that the potassium salts bicarbonate and citrate, which are plentiful in fruit and vegetables, play an important part in improving bone health. The results showed that the salts reduce bone resorption, the process by which bone is broken down, therefore increasing strength. Lead author Dr Helen Lambert, from the University of Surrey, said: “Our study shows that these salts could prevent osteoporosis, as our results showed a decrease in bone resorption.”

Hearing loss research receives £4m

The charity Action on Hearing Loss and BBSRC are investing £4m into research. The funding will support 13 projects that investigate how hearing changes as we get older, support research into tinnitus treatments, identify genetic causes of hearing loss and develop more accurate hearing tests. Dr Sohaila Rastan, Executive Director of Biomedical Research at Action on Hearing Loss, said: “These pioneering projects will improve our understanding of the causes of hearing loss, which is vital to developing new treatments to protect and restore hearing.”

Dementia funding

The UK Government announced a $100m Dementia Discovery Fund at the World Health Organization’s first ministerial conference dedicated to the condition. Major pharmaceutical companies Biogen, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Lilly and Pfizer have all committed in principle to invest in the project, alongside Alzheimer’s Research UK and the UK government.