New nanoparticle test for prostate cancer scoring
Newly developed tool could determine aggressiveness of prostate cancer
- Date : 27 Apr 2012
- Topic : Genitourinary cancers
Over-diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer has been a major problem in prostate cancer care and management. Currently the most relevant prognostic factor to predict a patient's risk of death due to prostate cancer is the Gleason score of the biopsied tissue samples. However, pathological analysis is subjective, and the Gleason score is only a qualitative estimate of the cancer malignancy. Molecular biomarkers and diagnostic tests that can accurately predict prostate tumour aggressiveness are rather limited.
A research team at the University of Central Florida NanoScience Technology Centre has now found a more accurate test. They reported for the first time the development of a nanoparticle test that not only can distinguish prostate cancer from normal and benign conditions, but also has the potential to predict the aggressiveness of prostate cancer quantitatively. Their work is published in the Journal of Translational Medicine.
Large differences seen among the intermediate grade 2 tumours
The technique is simple. The researchers used gold nanoparticles that detect a specific chemical reaction between a prostate tumour and the human immunoglobulin G (IgG). Research has shown that IgG likes to stick to the surface of the gold nanoparticles to form a protein corona. This corona can be detected by a technique called dynamic light scattering. The researchers found that when cancer cells are present, they can destroy the IgG in the blood, and this specific interaction is picked up by the gold nanoparticles.
Using this simple test, researchers can determine quantitatively how aggressive the prostate tumours are and the likelihood they will metastasise. The team tested out the technique on both, animal and human tissue samples. They are in the process of conducting a validation study with the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute. If all goes well, clinical trials could begin in two to three years.
The system that detects the reaction was discovered in the lab four years ago. It's called nanoparticle-enabled dynamic light scattering assay (NanoDLSay). The researchers are looking for funding now to get to the next step. The National Science Foundation (USA) and the Florida Department of Health Bankhead-Coley Foundation funded a lot of the basic research that went into creating this new technology. Associate professor Qun Huo, the lead investigator on the project is also a president of Nano Discovery Inc. a start-up company that she cofounded to commercialize NanoDLSay.
The test particularly revealed large differences among the intermediate grade 2 tumours, and suggested the need to treat them differently. If validated in a larger study of patients with prostate cancer, this test could become a new diagnostic tool in conjunction with Gleason Score pathology diagnostics to better distinguish aggressive cancer from indolent tumour.
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