Cairns Hospital has been selected as the only regional hospital in Queensland to trial a new method detecting bladder cancer in patients, without any need for surgery.
The hospital has started a clinical trial of Cxbladder, a non-invasive urine-based laboratory test, which will be showcased at the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service’s annual Research and Innovation Symposium today (October 6).
The Cxbladder tests locate genetic markers of bladder cancer in urine. Clinical trials are also currently underway in Australia, New Zealand, United States and Singapore.
Bladder cancer begins when abnormal cells in the bladder’s inner lining grow and divide in an uncontrolled way.
In 2018, there were 1015 deaths caused by bladder cancer in Australia, and 319 new cases diagnosed in the Cairns and Hinterland region during 2020.
Cairns Hospital staff specialist (urology) Dr Simon Pridgeon said it was great for the hospital to be selected for the trial, which is being carried out at multiple locations throughout Australia.
‘This is an opportunity for us to be part of some novel research about a clinically useful tool,’ he said.
‘This tool will help us in the early detection of bladder cancer and reducing the need for unnecessary invasive tests.
‘This means patients can be prioritised more effectively, and there are shorter waiting times for them, and by reducing the number of patients needing invasive tests and procedures, it frees up more time for us to assist more patients.’
Dr Pridgeon said the samples currently needed to be sent away to a laboratory for analysis, with test results typically reported within a week.
‘We are expecting to have some results from the trial later this year, where the tests can then be used more widely across Queensland Health,’ he said.
The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service’s Clinical Research Unit has facilitated more than 40 clinical trials across several fields of medicine and recruited nearly 150 patients in just six months.
Dr Eddy Strivens, the Acting Director of Research at CHHHS, said the Health Service’s reputation as a research hub was becoming more globally recognised.
‘The Health Service has a vision to attract and retain world class researchers, adding to our existing heavy hitting research teams in the Far North, with a focus on education, training and health technology innovation,’ he said.
‘Becoming a university hospital is part of the long-term strategic plan for the health service.
‘If we can attract more research of this calibre, which is clinically relevant to the work already underway in our Health Service, it will help us increase our advanced clinical services, infrastructure, expand our education and further our research.’