Palpation Diagnostics is developing the ProstaPalp technology, a novel in vivo medical device, which can measure the physical characteristics of the prostate during a routine digital rectal examination. The technology has been developed over the last 17 years in collaboration between clinicians at the Edinburgh Western General Hospital and engineers at Heriot-Watt University.
The technology addresses the unmet need of a diagnostic that can be used in the active monitoring and triaging of patients, with suspected prostate cancer. Every year more than 45 million men worldwide are screened for prostate cancer and 8 million men referred for a biopsy – around 1.3m biopsies in the EU. Around 75% of these biopsies are unnecessary. The biopsy procedure is painful and associated with a number of secondary complications, such as erectile dysfunction and incontinence. Our device provides a triage test allowing patients without significant disease to be removed from the clinical care pathway. It can also be used to actively monitor those patients remaining. The commercial potential is significant, with an addressable global market of over £1bn.
Palpation Diagnostics will conduct a feasibility study to detail the commercialisation route for the technology. It will further validate the clinical need, regulatory environment, quantify key markets, detail products development costs and route to market. The feasibility will complement an on-going clinical trial in Edinburgh and lead into an application for Phase 2 Horizon funding. This will then be used for further clinical validation and product development. Our device can triage patient from the clinical pathway and provides a low cost approach for active monitoring. The Prostapalp helps addresses the global and European challenge of spiralling healthcare costs, which is largely due to an aging population (EU Ageing Report: Economic and Budgetary Projections, 2012).