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Experimental Test May Spot Prostate Cancer Earlier, More Accurately
Date:9/29/2010

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Sept. 28 (HealthDay News) -- A new blood test to spot a cluster of specific proteins may indicate the presence of prostate cancer more accurately and earlier than is now possible, new research suggests.

The test, which has thus far only been assessed in a pilot study, is 90 percent accurate and returned fewer false-positive results than the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test, which is the current clinical standard, the researchers added.

Representatives of the British company that developed the test, Oxford Gene Technology in Oxford, presented the findings Tuesday at the International Conference on Molecular Diagnostics in Cancer Therapeutic Development in Denver, hosted by the American Association for Cancer Research.

The test looks for auto-antibodies for cancer, similar to the auto-antibodies associated with autoimmune diseases such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.

"These are antibodies against our own proteins," explained John Anson, Oxford's vice president of biomarker discovery. "We're trying to look for antibodies generated in the early stages of cancer. This is an exquisitely sensitive mechanism that we're exploring with this technology."

Such a test generates some excitement not only because it could theoretically detect tumors earlier, when they are more treatable, but auto-antibodies can be "easily detected in blood serum. It's not an invasive technique. It's a simple blood test," Anson noted.

The researchers came up with groups of up to 15 biomarkers that were present in prostate cancer samples and not present in men without prostate cancer. The test also was able to differentiate actual prostate cancer from a more benign condition.

Because a patent is currently pending, Anson would not list the proteins included in the test.

"We are going on to a much more exhaustive follow-on study. At the moment, we a
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