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Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Sensitive New Sensor Detects Prostate Cancer in Early Stages






British scientists have designed a prototype of a highly sensitive scanner that can detect diseases such as prostate cancer and HIV in very early stages. They consider their discovery extremely useful in countries where high-tech detection equipment is scarce.

The researchers, from Imperial College London, reported that their new visual sensor technology is 10 times more sensitive than traditional disease detectors that measure biomarkers in the body, according to Medical News Today.

The team tested the sensor's accuracy in looking for a biomarker known as p24 that's associated with HIV in human blood samples. They tested other samples for the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) marker, one indicator of prostate cancer.

The National Cancer Institute predicts that more than 240,000 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012 and that more than 28,000 of them will die. A male newborn has a one in six chance of developing this disease.

The two standard ways of detecting this cancer are a digital rectal exam and a PSA test. In early stages, many cases have no symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, use of the PSA test is debatable because studies have never proven that the blood test saves lives. It can yield suspicious results even when the patient merely has an infection.

The new sensor detects prostate cancer by looking for PSA in a blood sample. With a positive result, irregular clumps of nanoparticles form and emit a specific blue shade inside the disposable container. For a negative test, the nanoparticles separate and form shapes that resemble a ball. The process creates a red hue. Both colors are visible to the naked eye.

31/10/2012  :  By Vonda J. Sines / Yahoo News.

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