The developers of a new prostate cancer test say it’s a groundbreaking advancement.
“It’s a non-invasive, easy to perform blood test that increases that accuracy to the point where we can be really much more confident about whether we can recommend a man for a biopsy or not,” Dr. John Lewis, University of Alberta oncology professor and CEO of Nanostics, said.
Men aged 40 to 75 who have gone through screening and have an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) result can now get in the test in the province.
“That will really change the way men both figure out if they have prostate cancer and make critical decisions about whether to treat it or not,” Lewis said.
Most men are encouraged to begin getting PSA tests at the age of 50.
Lewis said the ClarityDX test is three times more accurate at discovering clinically significant prostate cancer than current screening.
The company said clinical data show ClarityDX could reduce unnecessary prostate biopsies by up to 35 per cent.
“So many men have gone through PSA screening and been unnecessarily biopsied —which is pretty invasive procedure and could also result in unnecessary treatment,” Lewis said.
“It’s a very invasive procedure. You can definitively diagnose prostate cancer, but it comes with a relatively significant chance of infection that can lead to sepsis. That can be very dangerous.”
It took 12 years to develop the test. The Alberta Cancer Foundation is one of the organizations that has been supporting the project.
“The best thing if you’re facing a cancer journey is to be diagnosed early,” said Christy Holtby, Alberta Cancer Foundation VP of Philanthropy.
“So if we can do that earlier, more accurately and less invasively, that’s going to be game changing.”
The test currently costs a patient $300, but stakeholders are beginning the process of going through Alberta Health Service’s evidence decision support program to get the test introduced to the public health-care4 system.
“AHS is supportive of technology that can help Albertans lead healthy lives and look forward to understanding, through further review and analysis, Nanostics’ Clarity DX Prostate test and its potential and benefits in Alberta,” Alberta Health Services spokesperson Kerry Williamson said.