Call for Innovators to develop Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) self-testing device

A search has been launched for a partner to develop a device allowing patients to self-test for Prostate Specific Antigens (PSA), within a home or community setting.

Submit your expressions of interest via the link below! The closing date for applications is 12 noon, Friday 22nd April 2022.

Our latest unmet need call aims to connect innovators from healthcare with innovation pathway partners, to address challenges identified by NHS staff and improve health outcomes.

PSA testing measures the amount of prostate specific antigen in the blood and patients who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer need to closely monitor their levels.

It is a joint project between Health Network North* and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, supported by the Northern Cancer Alliance, as a result of its work on prostate cancer follow up.

The unmet need call aims to make PSA testing as accessible as possible within a home or community setting, enabling patients or their carers to test serum/blood PSA concentrations.

Currently, patients are often required to attend six monthly Secondary Healthcare Oncology Services for routine monitoring. A majority are well and do not otherwise need to see a healthcare professional, but with self-testing (similar to finger-prick self-tests for people with diabetes to check blood glucose levels), unnecessary clinic visits or hospital stays could be avoided.

The challenge would help to solve an unmet need within the NHS in an area which would have a great benefit to the patient population and the NHS. In England, around one in eight men get prostate cancer.

There is a clear market opportunity for such a device within the NHS. Among the benefits is the potential to reduce the burden of hospital outpatient appointments and patient footfall into hospitals and GP surgeries, accentuated by the COVID-19 pandemic.


The PSA self-testing project is envisaged in two parts:

  1. A device (potentially a finger prick test) which will be used for self-testing to measure the patient’s PSA levels.
  2. The ability to communicate to a central point (hub/clinic). This is to receive advice from the central point, with instructions about what the patient should do as a result of the test results received based on any abnormalities in the test results (change medication etc). For example, this could be done by utilising the Health Call Solutions digital pathway. The device is required to have the ability to interact with third party systems using secure, standards-based messaging using either API, HL7v2 or FHIR standards. The digital pathway is currently being developed for the patients who are deemed appropriate and wish to have access to their PSA results using the digital platform.

Innovators from all areas – including businesses, individuals, universities, NHS teams or charities –who are interested in forming collaborations to develop solutions, are encouraged to apply.

The successful applicant will have access to the lead clinician and a cohort of the patient population to co-develop the prototype, working with the AHSN NENC team to develop a bespoke action plan for development. It is intended to progress the project beyond the prototype stage. This will require the solution developed to undergo a robust research evaluation process, which will be supported through the AHSN NENC.


If you have any queries, or would like an informal discussion about the opportunity, support on offer, IP protection or processes, the AHSN NENC project team would love to hear from you.

Academic Health Science Network partners:

Health Network North: 

Any analytical/technical queries please direct to:

  • Hazel Borthwick, Consultant Clinical Biochemist, County Durham and Darlington NHS Trust – [email protected]

Any clinical enquiries please direct to:

  • Dr Darren Leaning – [email protected] (Darren is the lead clinician on this project and is a consultant in the Department of Radiotherapy and Oncology at The James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.)


The deadline for applications is 12 noon, Friday 22nd April 2022. Applications will be reviewed and those shortlisted will be invited to present to a panel of industry experts.

The Health Network North is a partnership between the AHSN NENC and Innovation Super Network.