Washington, April 5: A test that costs less than $1 (Rs.60) and yields results in minutes is more sensitive and exact than the current standard test for early-stage prostate cancer, US-based researchers say. The simple test, developed by University of Central Florida scientist Qun “Treen” Huo, holds promise of early detection of one of the deadliest cancers among men. It would also reduce the number of unnecessary and invasive biopsies stemming from the less precise prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test that is now being used. “It is a simple test. It is much better than the test we have right now, which is the PSA and it is cost-effective,” said co-author Inoel Rivera, urologic oncologist at Florida Hospital Cancer Institute. When a cancerous tumour begins to develop, the body mobilises to produce antibodies. Huo’s test detects that immune response using gold noparticles about 10,000 times smaller than a freckle. Gold noparticles are known for their extraordiry efficiency at absorbing and scattering light.
When a few drops of blood serum from a finger prick are mixed with the gold noparticles, certain cancer biomarkers cling to the surface of the tiny particles, increasing their size and causing them to clump together. Huo and her team developed a technique known as noparticle-ebled dymic light scattering assay (noDLSay) to measure the size of the particles by alyzing the light they throw off. That size reveals whether a patient has prostate cancer and how advanced it may be. (ians)