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31 January, 2007 - 14:09 By Staff Reporter

Revolutionary coronary test ends heartache for patients and NHS

Trials are getting underway at hospitals throughout the region on a revolutionary test for coronary heart disease, developed by a Cambridge biotechnology company, that could not only save lives but also millions of pounds for the NHS.Medical practitioners believe the new fingerprint diagnostic test developed by Babraham-based Pronostics could save the NHS up to £135m a year and spare patients a traumatic alternative that in rare cases can prove fatal.

The current angiography test - conducted on around 150,000 patients in the UK every year - involves inserting a catheter into the leg and shooting a liquid dye through the blood vessels to the heart.

This makes the arteries easily visible on X-ray. Three in every 100 patients suffer side effects that can include nasty bleeding. One in 1,000 dies.

The cost of each test can vary from £500 to £900 depending on the NHS Trust involved. The new Pronostics test, called CADprint, allows the profiling of the complete immune system of a patient from a single, simple blood sample.

Pronostics has just launched a trials programme in association with Papworth Hospital, which conducts around 5,000 angiography tests a year through referrals.

Papworth itself will not be trialling CADprint on its own patients but has helped recruit a magic circle of leading hospitals that have volunteered to take part.

A total of 1,000 patients will take part in the multi-centre experiment. Trials are already underway at the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital.

Dr David Grainger, chief scientific officer for Pronostics, revealed that Addenbrooke's in Cambridge and Peterborough District Hospital would begin trials within the month.

A major London hospital is also believed to be interested in taking part.Dr Grainger said: "The plan is for the patient recruitment programme to be completed by the end of this year and for the results to be published early next.

On that timetable, Pronostics would be looking to launch CADprint in 2008.

Peter Schofield, consultant cardiologist at Papworth Hospital, who has collaborated on the development of CADprint, said: "If Pronostics can deliver on the promise of its technology it will improve our delivery of cardiovascular healthcare and relieve some of the burden of ever-rising costs for the NHS."

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