New Cancer Tests Could Sell Over the Counter : Discovery News

29000men Comment:
The article below about over the counter cancer screening tests is really intriguing for all cancers and would be very good for prostate cancer. The key to surviving prostate cancer is detecting it when is still is treatable. A simple test like the one described below could go a long way toward dramatically increasing the prostate cancer test rate – currently an abysmal 52%.

New Cancer Tests Could Sell Over the Counter
Eric Bland, Discovery News

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May 22, 2009 — Over-the-counter tests for lung, colon, prostate and other cancers could soon be available at your local pharmacy, say scientists from the University of Central Florida.

The tests, which scientists compare to over-the-counter pregnancy tests, would detect seven to 10 different kinds of common cancers using a single drop of blood, and take a few minutes to complete.

“We want to use this as a screening tool, not a diagnostic tool,” said Qun Huo, a professor at the University of Central Florida who developed the testing system and announced it at a recent conference in Houston. “If people are willing to do more screening, then they can catch any unusual changes due to cancer sooner, and the survival rates should increase.”
The tests could reach the market in as little as two years, Quo says.

WATCH VIDEO: Is nanotechnology safe? Jorge Ribas investigates.

When a normal, properly functioning cell suddenly turns cancerous, it releases unusual chemicals, known as biomarkers, into the blood stream.

Doctors can already detect several of these biomarkers. The problem with existing methods is that they are fairly expensive, take several hours to complete, need several syringes of blood, and can only detect large numbers of biomarkers. When there are enough biomarkers to detect cancer using existing tests, it often means that the cancer is large or in more advanced stages, when treatment options can be limited.

By contrast, the over-the-counter cancer test would be quick, relatively painless, and more sensitive than existing methods.

To accomplish this, the new test will use a variety of gold nanoparticles, some as small as nine nanometers and ranging up to over 100 nanometers, to detect cancer biomarkers.

When the gold nanoparticles detect a chemical produced by a cancerous cell, two of the nanoparticles sandwich the cancer particle in a bear hug. Waves of light then bounce off the suddenly larger particles to detect the cancer molecules and alert the patient to their existence.

If the test finds cancer biomarkers, Huo says patients shouldn’t panic. Instead, it should be a sign that they should see a doctor for further testing and to monitor the progression of the disease.

“We use assays to monitor cholesterol levels as well,” said Huo. “But that doesn’t necessarily mean that a person with high cholesterol will have a heart attack.”

“This test could certainly come in handy,” said Cheryl Baker, a physician at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center Orlando. “If you pick up rising biomarker levels, then we can start treatment and increase the survival rate. Hopefully this will help separate a cancer diagnosis from a death sentence.”

New Cancer Tests Could Sell Over the Counter : Discovery News
http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2009/05/22/cancer-test-otc-print.html

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