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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) based Urine Test for Detection of Cancer Prostate

Posted by Prahallad Panda on 7:55 PM Comments

UC Irvine chemists have come out with a novel urine test for detection of aggressive cancer of prostate that is easy to use and cheaper.
The device they developed is of the size of a home pregnancy test and the expected price will be around $10. 

A light blue ribbon is the symbol for prostate...
A light blue ribbon is the symbol for prostate cancer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
 
The test device is based on Prostate Specific Membrane Antigen (PSMA) that is though expressed in many non-prostate tissue, is more concentrated in prostate tissue.
The UC Irvine team genetically modified a virus to attract just PSMA. That works like a magnet to target the PSMA protein.
The researchers then created a tiny plastic film filled with these modified viruses and coated part of a urine test stick with it. So when someone urinates on the stick, the viruses capture any PSMA present. If they find some, the test is positive; if they don't, it is negative.
The testing stick is about the size of a pencil, although the researchers are hoping to make it even smaller as they continue their work.
Currently only prostate specific antigen (PSA) in the blood is tested for screening of cancer prostate. But, PSA levels can rise for many reasons other than cancer; and at the same time, it may miss some cancers and sometimes detects slow growing prostate tumours that may not need treatment.
This is a major reason why the U.S. Preventative Services task force gave PSA a D rating. That is why, it is being debated recently, how to deal with PSA test.
But, the PSA test remains a valuable tool for assessment of response to treatment; good prognosis is indicated by its low level in blood.
This new urine test shows promise because it focuses on PSMA, which rises to a higher level only when cancer is present. The next step is to test the device with cancer patients. They hope the urine based prostate test to be available in market in five years.
There are some other promising urine based tests such as levels of TMPRSS2:ERG and PCA3 DNA markers. Patients with high levels of these biomarkers have been shown to have an 80 percent chance of having cancer with a 50 percent risk of having high grade cancer. There is also an association between test results and the corresponding size of the tumour in patients who do have cancer.
The new test expected to be more accurate and cheaper than all other tests for detection of cancer of prostate.
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