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

maging reporter genes, which glow under bioluminescent or positron emission tomography (PET) scanning. The system works well in the androgen depleted environment and is strongly specific to the prostate, two conditions that are most fitting for castration resistant prostate cancer.

"The engineered system exhibits greatly elevated transcriptional activity, androgen-independency and strong prostate cancer specificity, verified in cell culture and pre-clinical mouse models," said Ziyue Karen Jiang, a senior doctoral student in pharmacology who is supported by a Jonsson Cancer Center fellowship. "These advantageous features of the system elicit superior gene expression capability for castration resistant prostate cancer in comparison to the other systems, which are driven by androgen-dependent promoters."

Based on the favorable features shown in cell culture experiments, the research team expected the PSES-driven imaging system to be discriminating in detecting castration resistant prostate cancer and cancer that has spread to distant organs. The research team was surprised to discover that the PSES imaging system developed was able to accurately detect bony metastasis of prostate cancer that grew in the leg of a mouse while two traditional imaging methods were unable to detect the metastasis.

The researchers tested the performance capacity of the PSES bioluminescent imaging system in mice that had prostate tumor cells implanted in their right knee to establish bony metastasis. After allowing six weeks for the tumor to grow, the PSES imaging reporter vector was injected into the tumor-implanted mice to search for the metastasis. Four days after the injection, the signal from the reporter gene could be clearly seen, correctly identifying the prostate cancer metastasis in the right tibia bone in nine out of nine animals. Concurrent use of PET scans were unable to distinguish between the tumor-bearing right knee and the uninvolved left knee.
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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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