A DARESBURY biotech company is seeking £2m from investors for a ‘revolutionary’ new test for prostate cancer that could be available within a year.

Arcis Biotechnology, based at Sci-Tech Daresbury, is developing a urine sample test for prostate cancer – the third deadliest cancer in the UK, with more than 47,000 men diagnosed across the country every year.

The company has already been able to detect cancer biomarkers in urine samples, and hopes to create the world’s first ‘effective and simple diagnostic test’ by working with the University of Surrey.

Dr Jan Rogers, chief science officer at Arcis, said: “Preserving these fragile cancer biomarkers directly from a patient’s urine sample is a massive step forward as it facilitates a simple, non-invasive test that could even be done at home.

“We are confident that a significantly more accurate prostate cancer diagnostic test can be brought to the market in the near future.”

So far, nearly £690,000 of the £2m investment being sought has been raised.

The prostate specific antigen blood test commonly used by the NHS at present has been described as ‘relatively inaccurate’, and a cause of ‘unnecessary patient trauma and stress’.

Professor Hardev Pandha, director of the Surrey Cancer Research Institute, said: “The collaboration with Arcis is producing very positive results and we are genuinely excited at the prospect of a revolutionary cancer diagnostic test for prostate cancer, suitable for adoption by the NHS.

“As well as detecting cancer, the collaboration is also focussing on whether the test predicts the volume of cancer present in the patient.

“This information is crucial, as many small cancers can be monitored without treatment versus the larger significant cancers which do need prompt treatment.

“This would truly be a game-changer for clinicians and what the field is waiting for.”