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Urine-Based Molecular Test Detects Bladder Cancer Quickly and Accurately

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 14 Mar 2023
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Image: Researchers have developed a novel urine-based test for the non-invasive detection of bladder cancer (Photo courtesy of Nonacus)
Image: Researchers have developed a novel urine-based test for the non-invasive detection of bladder cancer (Photo courtesy of Nonacus)

Flexible cystoscopy, an invasive procedure involving the insertion of a camera into the bladder, is currently the main technique used to identify bladder cancer tumors. However, this process can be uncomfortable and expensive for patients, and the majority of these cystoscopies result in no abnormalities or malignancies being detected. Now, a new urine-based molecular test can rapidly and precisely detect bladder cancer, thereby streamlining diagnosis and minimizing the necessity for invasive procedures like cystoscopies.

A collaboration between the University of Birmingham (Birmingham, UK) researchers and liquid biopsy cancer detection and screening company Nonacus (Birmingham, UK) has resulted in a novel test for the non-invasive detection of bladder cancer. The GALEAS Bladder from Nonacus is a non-invasive, urine-based diagnostic test designed to provide a sample-to-report molecular triage for patients exhibiting symptoms of hematuria (blood in urine). The urine-based molecular biomarker provides a highly sensitive test that enables the rapid and precise detection of bladder cancer, thus enhancing diagnosis and eliminating the need for invasive cystoscopies.

The test combines highly sensitive liquid biopsy technology with a panel of biomarkers to detect the presence of bladder cancer by locating DNA from tumor cells in urine. The biomarker panel has been validated by the researchers in more than 600 patient samples from three UK clinical cohorts. Their analysis has shown the test to have a high diagnostic accuracy (sensitivity >90%, specificity >85%) across all grades and stages of bladder cancer. The test could potentially work across the entire bladder cancer patient pathway, reducing dependence on invasive cystoscopy and expensive imaging for non-muscle-invasive bladder cancer surveillance and minimal residual disease monitoring, as well as triage for hematuria.

“We are very excited to launch GALEAS Bladder,” said Chis Sale, CEO of Nonacus. “We are striving to develop a suite of meaningful non-invasive tools that can have real impact on the diagnosis and treatment of patients with suspected cancer. GALEAS Bladder represents the first in this pipeline, helping to improve patients' lives and reducing the burden of cystoscopy on overstretched clinics.”

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