Sunday, April 5, 2015

Cheap, fast test improves on PSA

Dr. Qun "Treen" Huo 
CANCER DIGEST – April 5, 2015 – A test that costs less than a dollar and yields results in minutes has been shown to be more sensitive and more exact than the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test for early-stage prostate cancer.

The test detects the immune response using gold nanoparticles about 10,000 times smaller than a freckle. It was developed by a research team led by Dr. Qun “Treen” Huo, of the University of Central Florida.

When a few drops of blood serum from a finger prick are mixed with the gold nanoparticles, certain cancer biomarkers cling to the surface of the tiny particles, increasing their size and causing them to clump together.

Pilots studies show the test determines within 90 to 95 percent confidence that the result is cancer. When it comes to false-negatives, however, there is 50 percent confidence that the test shows the man has cancer when he doesn’t (false positive rate) which  is not ideal, but still significantly higher than the PSA’s 20 percent – and the researchers are working to improve that number.

Despite using gold, the test is cheap. A small bottle of nanoparticles suspended in water costs about $250, and contains enough for about 2,500 tests.

The results of the pilot studies were published in the March 15, 2015 ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

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