A device that could revolutionise the way men are screened for prostate cancer has won the ‘Grand Prix,' ‘winner of winners’ prize in a national engineering award.
ProstaPalp® also won the Healthcare & Medical category in the 2022 Collaborate to Innovate awards, run by The Engineer, a London-based monthly magazine and website covering engineering and technology news in the UK and internationally.
The Grand Prix prize means ProstaPalp® was the winner of winners across eight categories. In the Healthcare & Medical category, ProstaPalp® won against five other shortlisted projects.
Our technology presents a huge opportunity to improve prostate cancer screening for both doctors and patients.
The device has been developed by IntelliPalp Dx, a spin-out company from Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh Universities with NHS Lothian.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men, and more than 52,000 men a year in the UK are diagnosed with it, according to Prostate Cancer UK.
IntelliPalp Dx says ProstaPalp® can provide more accurate testing for prostate cancer at an early stage, leading to reduced patient anxiety and more efficient diagnosis.
The device combines a probe with a signal processing algorithm that IntelliPalp says delivers “more user-friendly, reproducible and reliable results.”
During initial trials with patients, ProstaPalp® accurately detected areas of the prostate with clinically significant cancer. Patients have also reported that they prefer the use of ProstaPalp® over existing testing methods.
IntelliPalp Dx was set up in 2020 to commercialise the research of Professor Bob Reuben, Professor of Materials Engineering at Heriot-Watt University, and Professor Alan McNeill, a Consultant Urological Surgeon and Honorary Professor at Heriot-Watt University and Edinburgh University.
Collecting the award at an event in London, Professor Reuben said: “We’re thrilled to receive this award from The Engineer. About one in eight men will get prostate cancer in their lifetime, but the current testing process isn’t always reliable. Our technology presents a huge opportunity to improve prostate cancer screening for both doctors and patients.”
Professor Gillian Murray, Deputy Principal for Enterprise and Business at Heriot-Watt University, said: “Medical device technology is a key area of expertise at Heriot-Watt University, where world-class researchers, engineers and clinicians collaborate to change lives. I’m delighted to congratulate IntelliPalp on being recognised for such an important area of work.”
Editor of The Engineer, Jon Excell said: “Once more, the Collaborate to Innovate awards have uncovered a treasure trove of inspiring collaborative engineering projects and provided a compelling reminder of how engineers are working together to address some of the biggest challenges society faces.”
Now in their seventh year, the Collaborate to Innovate awards aim to showcase the UK’s depth of engineering talent and the role that engineers play in addressing some of the world’s biggest challenges.
To develop ProstaPalp® and get it to market, IntelliPalp has been collaborating with Heriot-Watt University, the University of Edinburgh, The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council – the main funding body for engineering and physical sciences research in the UK – the Medical Research Council, a national funding agency for medical research, the Western General Hospital – a teaching hospital in Edinburgh – and CENSIS, Scotland’s Innovation Centre for sensing, imaging and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. The IntelliPalp project is supported with funding from Scottish Enterprise, Scotland’s national economic development agency, and the Urology Foundation, a charity that supports urology research and care.