New, More Sensitive, PSA Test Developed

CHICAGO, June 2 (UPI) — U.S. scientists say they have developed an ultra-sensitive nanoparticle PSA test that can accurately predict a return of prostate cancer after surgery.

Researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and the University International Institute for Nanotechnology said their PSA (prostate-specific antigen) test uses nanoparticle-based technology that might be able to definitively predict after surgery if prostate cancer is cured or if it will recur.


The new test is based on assays invented at Northwestern in the laboratories of Professor Chad Mirkin. It is said to be 300 times more sensitive than currently available commercial tests and can detect a very low level of PSA that indicates the cancer has spread beyond the prostate. The scientists said the test also may pick up cancer recurrence at a much earlier stage, when secondary treatment is most effective for a patient’s survival.

“This test may provide early and more accurate answers,” said co-principal investigator Dr. C. Shad Thaxton, an assistant professor of urology at Feinberg. “It may allow physicians to act at the earliest and most sensitive time, which we know will provide the patient with the best chance of long- term survival.”

The study results were presented Wednesday in San Francisco during the annual meeting of the American Urological Association by Feinberg urology residents Lee Zhao, Dae Kim and Hannah Alphs.

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