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UK Cancer Detection Firm CanSense Raises £1.5M for Development of Colorectal Cancer Test

NEW YORK – Swansea, Wales-based cancer detection firm CanSense said Wednesday that it has raised £1.5 million ($1.7 million) to support development of its early-detection test for colorectal cancer.

The funding came from the Development Bank of Wales, investment firm Mercia Asset Management, and the UK-based liquid biopsy company Nonacus.

CanSense's test is a blood-based assay that uses laser spectroscopy and artificial intelligence to identify early-stage colorectal cancer and precancerous polyps. The test is based on research done at Swansea University that was funded in part by Cancer Research Wales.

Founded in 2019, CanSense in 2022 received a £1.2 million grant from the UK National Institute for Health Research to fund development of the test and clinical trials.

"Symptoms of bowel cancer are nonspecific so it is hard for GPs to detect," CanSense CEO Adam Bryant said in a statement. "Many patients are sent for a colonoscopy but the majority of these tests are negative, creating an inefficient pathway, which is now at breaking point. Our test could help GPs to make the right triage decisions, freeing up diagnostic services and ensuring high-priority patients are seen as quickly as possible. By detecting bowel cancer at the earliest possible stage, it could also significantly improve outcomes for patients."

"CanSense is one of a new generation of cancer diagnostic tools which have the potential to save many lives and lower the burden on the NHS," Rafael Joseph, an investment manager with Mercia, said in the statement. "Mercia has a specialist knowledge of this field and has backed a number of innovators. CanSense is another piece in the puzzle, and its ability to detect cancer at the earliest stage is particularly exciting."