One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime, the second leading cause of death among men in the United States.
It's a serious problem and current diagnostic tests aren't very specific. But a research team at the University of Central Florida NanoScience Technology Center has found a more accurate test that not only determines whether a patient has prostate cancer, but also how aggressive it is.
"That's really what is unique and exciting about our new discovery," said associate professor Qun "Treen" Huo, the lead investigator on the project. "Our nanoparticles not only seek out a chemical reaction that is specific to prostate cancer, they can also tell us how aggressive the cancerous cells are likely to be, which can give doctors better information to treat their patients."
Current tests can't tell how aggressive the cancer is, which often leads to the gland's removal when other options might be available. For example, a very aggressive type of cancer in a young man may require immediate removal of his prostate gland to save his life. A slow-acting cancer in a young patient may give him more options that are less radical.
And options are good because the prostate is a very important gland. It helps regulate urine flow and is involved in the production of semen in men. The effects of surgical removal of the prostate gland can range from mild loss of erection and pain on orgasm, to total loss of erection and incontinence.
Huo's work is published in the Journal of Translational Medicine at http://www.translational-medicine.com/content/10/1/44. The technique is rather simple, Huo said.
She uses gold nanoparticles that detect a specific chemical reaction between a prostate tumor and the human immunoglobulin G (IgG). IgG is an abundant protein circulating in the blood. Research has shown that IgG likes to st
|Contact: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala|
University of Central Florida