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Dublin start-up EpiCapture aiming to transform prostate cancer testing with simple urine test

by | Oct 13, 2022

A Dublin-based start-up aiming to transform cancer testing by putting the patient at the centre of prostate cancer diagnosis is in the running for a major European funding prize.

EpiCapture, a University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out supported by NovaUCD, is co-founded by Edward Simons and Dr Antoinette Perry, Co- Director of the Cancer Biology and Therapeutics Lab in UCD.

“Having spent time with prostate cancer patients, it became clear that many have an aversion to biopsies which they find to be too invasive,” said Dr Perry. “Our simple urine test will enable more accurate risk stratification of prostate cancers, which will have economic benefits for healthcare systems and quality of life benefits for men with indolent disease.”

Dr. Perry has developed a simple test to detect aggressive prostate cancer at an early stage, where instead of an invasive trans-rectal needle biopsy, patients can be screened through a simple urine test that measures six epigenetic DNA biomarkers.

EpiCapture says it can detect 90 per cent of aggressive prostate cancers on PCR platforms. In 2020, Ireland recorded the highest cancer incidence rate in the EU, with around 45,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Prostate cancer is the second most common.

Epicapture is one of eight finalists of Wild Card, backed by EIT Health, and is the last remaining Irish team in the running in the annual open innovation competition, which invites health innovators across Europe to respond with ideas to solve health challenges.

The finalists, four in early detection of cancer, and four in mental health will pitch to industry leaders. One from each category will be awarded funding of up to €1.5million to bring their solution to market. Winners will be announced in November.

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