Researchers are developing a diagnostic test for prostate cancer wherein gold nanoparticles screen for the same cancer-related protein marker that is screened for by the FDA-approved Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) test.
Huo and her team at the UCF lab developed the new technique involving gold nanoparticles, which she first mixes in a solution. The nanoparticles are engineered to attach themselves to cancer-producing proteins related to the type of cancer she is targeting. When she places a drop of blood in the solution, the gold nanoparticles seek out the protein. If the protein is present, the gold nanoparticles cluster around it. Using a dynamic light-scattering instrument, she looks for the clusters. If there are no clusters, there is no cancer-causing protein.
During a test, if cancer-producing proteins are detected at a significant level, the consumer would be directed to see a doctor.
Extensive cOlinical trials will have to be performed, but the researchers say that in three to five years an over-the-counter test kit for prostate cancer (and other cancers) is likely.