Using Light to Diagnose Cancer

Prostate cancer screening and diagnosis using NanoDLSay

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Chris Galloway, M.D.

(RxWiki News) Since the release of the new guidelines against using prostate specific antigen as a tool to screen for prostate cancer, the search for a more reliable way to identify patients at risk for prostate cancer has intensified.

Yet a new technology documented in recently published research shows that not only have scientists developed a method to identify prostate cancer using a laboratory test, it may tell doctors how aggressively the prostate cancer needs to be treated.

"Ask your doctor about prostate cancer screening."

Qun Huo, PhD, with a team from the University of Central Florida found a way to look at the chemical messages of the immune system. Dr. Huo has patented a technique that uses advanced laboratory analysis to interpret the way very small particles of gold scatter light when mixed with the immunoglobin found in blood.

So far, lab experiments using samples of human cancer cells have able to determining the aggressiveness of prostate tumor cells that were tested.

When contacted by dailyRx, David Crawford, MD and Professor of Urology at the University of Colorado in Denver offered his remarks on the study.

"This is very exciting research. One of the most important areas in prostate cancer is the development of a marker or test to predict the aggressiveness of the cancer and need to treatment. Right now we have Gleason score, PSA and clinical stage, none of which are perfect. The data presented are early, but yet provocative and may someday better guide our therapy."

While the study states that further refinement of the technique is necessary before widespread use of the test, the development has proved to be accurate in experiments so far. The team predicted clinical trials for prostate cancer screening using the NanoDLSay method within a few years.

Researchers felt confident in saying that with further development, the laboratory technique will be able to diagnose prostate cancer without a biopsy, and will let doctors know in advance which cancers are aggressive enough to require surgery.

The NanoDLSay (nanoparticle-enabled dynamic light scattering assay) technology was developed several years ago, and other scientists have used the system in a variety of ways, including water quality and metal impurities. The technique is similar in principle to x-ray crystallography, allowing scientists to look at tiny molecules by observing patterns in how the light reflects.

"We've had already done our study with animal and human blood samples. Now we've confirmed our findings in both animal models and human tissue samples. I am in the process of conducting a validation study with the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute and I am very confident the technology works," Dr. Huo stated.

The research was published on March 9, 2012 in the Journal of Translational Medicine.

Dr. Huo owns the licensing rights to the NanoDLSay technology. The published research was supported in part by the Florida Department of Health and the State of Florida.

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Review Date: 
May 3, 2012
Last Updated:
June 11, 2012