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UCLA researchers develop system that finds prostate cancer spread earlier than conventional imaging
Date:9/22/2011

Researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have developed a way to image the spread of a particularly dangerous form of prostate cancer earlier than conventional imaging in use today, which may allow oncologists to find and treat these metastases more quickly and give patients a better chance at survival.

The gene-based imaging system targets prostate cancers that have become resistant to androgen deprivation therapy, an aggressive form of the disease known as castration resistant prostate cancer. Once the hormone treatment is no longer working, the cancer will progress within 12 to 18 months and prognosis becomes grim, said Lily Wu, a professor of molecular and medical pharmacology, a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher and senior author of the study.

"Anytime you can detect cancer earlier, the chances of more effective control of the cancer increase and the outcomes for patients are better," Wu said. "Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to treat castration resistant prostate cancer once it has spread. In our study, we focused on finding ways to image these advanced metastatic prostate cancers accurately. "

The study appeared Sept. 21 in the early online edition of Cancer Research, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

Wu's team focused on using "control switches" of genes that are active only in castration resistant prostate cancer, and linked these molecular switches to a "reporter" gene that can be easily imaged. The specific switch the team used in this study is the prostate specific enhancing sequence (PSES), an androgen-independent promoter in castration resistant prostate cancer that is more specific to that form of malignancy.

The PSES is derived from the prostate specific antigen and the prostate specific membrane antigen (PMSA) and is given a boost by the two-step transcriptional amplification system, which drives the expression of the i
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Contact: Kim Irwin
kirwin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-206-2805
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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