Breakthrough Developments in Prostate Cancer Testing and Diagnostics

Updated: Jul 22, 2021

Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancer in men and the second leading cause of cancer death in the US. 21% of cancers in males are of prostate origin and in 2020, incidence reports clocked new cases at 191,000, making prostate cancer the leading cancer in male patients. With more than 30,000 male patients dying each year, the toll of prostate cancer ripples through the society. Age poses as a major risk factor and it has been observed that roughly 29% of male autopsies had undetected prostate cancer by the age of 50. This number increased to about 40-50% by the ages of 70-79. Regional and ethnic disparities in mortality are notable with black males being most likely to develop prostate cancer and Asian men at the lower end of prevalence in all confirmed cases.

Often, when symptoms such as urinary obstruction, blood in urine, and abdominal pain arise, it means that the cancer has progressed to the malignant state and has a higher likelihood of metastasis. This highlights the importance of detection and screening before the symptoms are present. Catching cancer early often allows for more treatment options. The diagnosis is usually done with a serum test for prostate specific antigen (PSA), a biomarker in the blood, which when high, indicates that a prostate problem is present. Screening efforts coupled with digital rectal exams, where lumps and other abnormalities in the prostate gland are checked, are utilized for clinical diagnosis of nearly all cases. Apart from this, trans-rectal ultrasound and MRI fusion biopsy can provide adequate diagnosis in pinpointing the presence and stage of cancer. However, they have an accuracy of only 44% and specificity of 68%.

miR Scientific, a precision bioscience company whose purpose is to transform global cancer management by providing accurate detection, characterization and monitoring of disease, will soon achieve Breakthrough Device Designation by the US FDA for its miR SentinelTM PCC4 Assay. This is a new method that prides itself in accurately detecting, testing and monitoring progression of all stages of prostate cancer non- invasively with 95% sensitivity and specificity.

miR SentinelTM Prostate Test analyzes small non-coding RNAs (snc RNA) that are derived from urine samples and classifies patients into one of the four groups- no molecular evidence of prostate cancer; low-risk; intermediate-risk; or high-risk prostate cancer, using a proprietary Statistical Classification Algorithm. In comparison to the current standard of care, miR’s Standalone Liquid Biopsy Test technology seems to be promising in terms of higher sensitivity, specificity and makes use non-invasive, highly precise techniques for diagnosing and classifying prostate cancer, which further helps in patient compliance and care planning.

With rapidly growing recognition of prostate cancer as a public health priority, analysts at BPC believe that support for increased research and investments in this vertical are necessary for early diagnosis and effective treatment.

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Bridge Point Capital is a private equity firm based in New York, with a focus on U.S.-Asia cross-border investments. We specialize in investing in disruptive mid- to late-stage healthcare companies that can benefit from penetrating the vast, yet unexplored Asian healthcare market. We aim to leverage our expertise in both healthcare and capital markets, to establish a lucrative investment platform for our investors.