Researchers Working on Alternative to Biopsy as Way to Diagnose Prostate Cancer

Researchers Working on Alternative to Biopsy as Way to Diagnose Prostate Cancer
Washington State University researchers have developed a new way to capture cancer-derived particles called exosomes from prostate cancer, a finding that could offer an alternative to the invasive approach of performing a biopsy to diagnose the disease. The research also may lead to a non-invasive approach to monitoring response to treatment. The study, "Silica nanostructured platform for affinity capture of tumor-derived exosomes," was published in the Journal of Materials Science. While most prostate cancer patients don't die of the disease, doctors need to monitor how a patient's disease is progressing or responding to treatment. This is usually done through a biopsy, a procedure in which small samples of prostate are collected for analysis. While safe, biopsies are invasive procedures that can have side effects such as bleeding or infection. The Washington State researchers' diagnostic approach would be a non-invasive alternative to biopsy. "Say you have a urine sample from a patient known to have prostate cancer. You could pass the urine through the device we are in the process of putting together and measure the number of exosomes that are specifically from prostate cancer cells," Grant Norton, professor of mechanical and materials engineering, said in a press release. "The physician would propose a treatment plan and the amount of exosomes in a follow-up urine sample would indicate how effective the treatment was." Exosomes are small s
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