A unique new device for prostate cancer diagnosis

CamPROBE aims to save time and money – and reduce the risk of infection.

This month sees the launch of a revolutionary new device that is set to transform the process of prostate cancer diagnosis. The Cambridge Prostate Biopsy Device (CamPROBE) is designed to reduce the risk of infection, compared with traditional transrectal biopsies, and improve the experience for patients. The cost is also expected to be less than half that of existing devices.

With one in eight men diagnosed with prostate cancer, urology expert Professor Vincent Gnanapragasam and his team at the University of Cambridge and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust devised the CamPROBE with the aim of making prostate biopsy simple, safe, and affordable.

Traditionally, prostate cancer has been diagnosed with a transrectal needle biopsy of the prostate, guided by an ultrasound probe inserted into the rectum. This approach carries a significant risk of side effects, including urinary infections and severe sepsis, as the needle traverses the rectal wall a number of times on the way to the prostate. As a result, medical and professional bodies now advocate using the transperineal route (the space between the legs and under the scrotum) instead.

The CamPROBE is designed to be a cost-effective, simple way of accessing the prostate via the transperineal route in an outpatient setting. Unlike existing biopsy devices, it requires only two incisions instead of the typical 12. And it incorporates a needle to deliver local anaesthetic – sheathed within a coaxial cannula for ease of use.

Professor Gnanapragasam said: "In a multi-centre clinical investigation study, there were no reports of infections, device deficiencies or safety issues from use of the device – and cancer detection rates were equivalent to other means of biopsy. Procedure times were short and only low amounts of local anaesthetic were required, yet low pain scores were reported by patients. More than 85% of patients said they would recommend the CamPROBE procedure to someone else as a method of having a prostate biopsy done."

Healthcare innovation consultancy Health Tech Enterprise and Cambridge Enterprise, the commercialisation arm of the University of Cambridge, worked together to secure intellectual property protection for the CamPROBE device. They also helped with the procurement of grant funding from the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) to enable the CamPROBE device to be refined, clinically evaluated and, ultimately, commercialised.

The CamPROBE inventors worked with product development company JEB Technologies to secure CE marking for the device. And Cambridge Enterprise has now signed a licensing agreement for CamPROBE with JEB Technologies.

JEB Technologies is launching CamPROBE at MEDICA 2022 in Düsseldorf, Germany, on 14-17 November – with a demonstration of the device on stand H52 in hall 16.