Urine luck! Astonishing new ‘cancer tester’ detects disease with a drop of wee

Professor Adam Lesner from the Gdańsk University Chemistry Faculty and colleague Dr. Natalia Gruba came up with the cancer detector while doing research into the urinary systems cancer. University of Gdańsk

An incredible new method of detecting cancer has been developed by scientists at the University of Gdańsk.

A simple swab-like tester, which changes colour depending on the results, allows patients to check for different types of urinary system cancer, which includes the urinary tract as well as the bladder. 

With tests carried out on 600 patients producing 90 percent accurate results, the researchers behind it are now hoping to find investors to make it widely available.

The method has already been patented in the EU and more broadly across the world. 

Tests were carried out on 600 patients producing 90 percent accurate results.University of Gdańsk

One of the inventors, Professor Adam Lesner from the Gdańsk University Chemistry Faculty said: “The proposed method is an alternative to the ones currently used in practice – bioanalytical methods of identifying cancer cells in a urine sample, imaging using ultrasound methods and endoscopy.

“An additional advantage of the method is that it is non-invasive for the patient - to detect the disease - only the urine sample is needed.” 

The test examines the sample for the presence of a special enzyme, which indicates cancerous cell grows.

"During the formation of tumours within the urinary epithelium [tissue], there is an increased activity of proteolytic enzymes, that is, enzymes that cause protein breakdown,” explained Lesner. 

Lesner and his team at the University of Gdańsk are now hoping to find investors to make it widely available.University of Gdańsk

Together with Dr. Natalia Gruba, they prepared this simple diagnostic kit hoping to achieve early detection of one of the more common cancer types in Poland.

It is especially dangerous, since there no visible symptoms in the first stages of the illness. Every year, even 4000 people die of urinary system cancer in Poland.

The research was funded by Gdańsk University Technology Transfer Office’s programme Innovation Incubator +.