Pioneering prostate biopsy device awarded £789K NIHR Product Development Award


Health Enterprise East (HEE), a leading NHS innovation hub, announced today that CAMPROBE (Cambridge Prostate Biopsy Device), a novel medical device to perform safer and more accurate prostate biopsies, has been awarded a £789,000 Invention for Innovation (i4i) Product Development Award by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

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The pioneering device has the potential to change current standard trans-rectal prostate biopsy practice to a much safer transperineal approach in the outpatient setting, without the need for additional specialist equipment.

Dr James Clulow, Innovation Manager at HEE said: “We have been involved in the development of CAMPROBE from an early stage, and are delighted to have helped secure this significant NIHR i4i Award. It was a highly competitive process and shows how HEE works in collaboration with NHS Innovators to develop their ideas, help secure investment and ultimately, bring new technologies to patients.”

The current method of diagnosing prostate cancer is with a needle biopsy of the prostate guided by a transrectal ultrasound probe inserted into the rectum. This method carries a significant risk of side effects including urinary infections and severe sepsis as the needle traverses the bowel a number of times on the way to the prostate. The CAMPROBE will allow biopsies to be performed through the much more sterile transperineal route under local anaesthesia. In pilot trials the device resulted in no infections compared to rates of 5-12% from the current transrectal biopsy method. Moreover 8/10 men preferred the CAMPROBE approach over the current transrectal biopsy method and would recommend it to a relative or friend.

Over the next three years, the i4i Award will take CAMPROBE from a prototype through further clinical evaluation and CE marking. It is anticipated that CAMPROBE will then be ready for market launch and adoption across the NHS and be an enabling technology for a change in medical practice.

The project is being led by Mr Vincent Gnanapragasam, the consultant Urological Surgeon who first came up with the idea; it is a collaboration between Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge University, HEE, JEB Technologies and North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust.

Commenting on the award, Mr Vincent Gnanapragasam said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to improve prostate cancer diagnostics and I am delighted that NIHR have chosen to invest in the CAMPROBE. Its use in hospital outpatient departments will mean a positive change in the experience of patients referred with suspected prostate cancer and will lead to a much safer way to diagnose the disease. This improvement will be of potential benefit to the tens of thousands of men who have prostate biopsies every year in the UK.”

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For more information please contact:
Zyme Communications
Sarah Jeffery
Phone: +44 (0) 7771 730919

Health Enterprise East
Chris Armstrong
Phone: +44 (0)1223 928040


Health Enterprise East (HEE) delivers technology advisory and innovation management services to industry and the NHS.

Health Enterprise East