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Effective over-the-counter prostate cancer test kit likely in next few years
Date:6/3/2009

An over-the-counter prostate cancer test kit could be coming to a pharmacy near you, thanks to the collaborative work of a University of Central Florida chemist and M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Orlando researchers.

UCF's Qun "Treen" Huo and M.D. Anderson-Orlando's Dr. Cheryl Baker and Jimmie Colon teamed up about 18 months ago with a very ambitious plan. Huo wanted to develop an effective, inexpensive test to screen for prostate cancer that would be easy enough to use at home or a local pharmacy.

"Now cancer tests are so inconvenient and expensive, and a lot of people don't have insurance, so they are not likely to test if they have no symptoms," Huo said. "Cancer is really scary because there aren't a lot of symptoms in the early stages. So I said, 'Why not create a test that is easy and inexpensive? Then more people can test and catch cancer early so it can be treated early.'"

Prostate cancer affects one of every six men and is the second-most common cancer among men in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. It is estimated that more than 2 million American men are currently living with prostate cancer and that one new case occurs every 2.7 minutes. More than 27,000 men die from the disease each year, according to the American Cancer Society.

Huo and her team at the UCF lab developed the new technique involving gold nanoparticles, which she first mixes in a solution. The nanoparticles are engineered to attach themselves to cancer-producing proteins related to the type of cancer she is targeting. When she places a drop of blood in the solution, the gold nanoparticles seek out the protein. If the protein is present, the gold nanoparticles cluster around it. Using a dynamic light-scattering instrument, she looks for the clusters. If there are no clusters, there is no cancer-causing protein.

During a test, if cancer-producing proteins are detected at a significant level, the consumer would be di
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Contact: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala
zkotala@mail.ucf.edu
40-782-361-204-074-466-56
University of Central Florida
Source:Eurekalert  

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Effective over-the-counter prostate cancer test kit likely in next few years
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