Prototype Ultra Sensitive Disease Sensor Developed

Main Category: Medical Devices / Diagnostics
Also Included In: Prostate / Prostate Cancer;  HIV / AIDS
Article Date: 30 Oct 2012 – 3:00 PDT

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Scientists have developed a prototype ultra-sensitive sensor that would enable doctors to detect the early stages of diseases and viruses with the naked eye, according to research published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.

The team, from Imperial College London, report that their visual sensor technology is ten times more sensitive than the current gold standard methods for measuring biomarkers. These indicate the onset of diseases such as prostate cancer and infection by viruses including HIV.

The researchers say their sensor would benefit countries where sophisticated detection equipment is scarce, enabling cheaper and simpler detection and treatments for patients.

In the study, the team tested the effectiveness of the sensor by detecting a biomarker called p24 in blood samples, which indicates HIV infection.

Professor Molly Stevens, from the Departments of Materials and Bioengineering at Imperial College London, says:

“It is vital that patients get periodically tested in order to assess the success of retroviral therapies and check for new cases of infection. Unfortunately, the existing gold standard detection methods can be too expensive to be implemented in parts of the world where resources are scarce. Our approach affords for improved sensitivity, does not require sophisticated instrumentation and it is ten times cheaper, which could allow more tests to be performed for better screening of many diseases.”

The researchers in today’s study also tested samples for the biomarker called Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), which is an early indicator for Prostate Cancer. The team say the sensor can also be reconfigured for other viruses and diseases where the specific biomarker is known.

The sensor works by analysing serum, derived from blood, in a disposable container. If the result is positive for p24 or PSA, there is a reaction that generates irregular clumps of nanoparticles, which give off a distinctive blue hue in a solution inside the container. If the results are negative the nanoparticles separate into ball-like shapes, creating a reddish hue. Both reactions can be easily seen by the naked eye.

The team also report that the sensor was so sensitive that it was able to detect minute levels of p24 in samples where patients had low viral loads, which could not be diagnosed using existing tests such as the Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) test and the gold standard nucleic acid based test.

Dr Roberto de la Rica, co-author of the study from the Department of Materials at Imperial College London, adds:

“We have developed a test that we hope will enable previously undetectable HIV infections and indicators of cancer to be picked up, which would mean people could be treated sooner. We also believe that this test could be significantly cheaper to administer, which could pave the way for more widespread use of HIV testing in poorer parts of the world.”

The next stage of the research will see the team approaching not-for-profit global health organisations, which could provide strategic direction and funding for manufacturing and distributing the sensor to low income countries.

The research was funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and by a European Research Council (ERC) starting investigator grant. The study was also supported by a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Programme.
“Plasmonic ELISA for the ultrasensitive detection of disease biomarkers with the naked eye” Nature Nanotechnology, published [insert date] Roberto de la Rica [1], Molly Stevens [1]
[1] Department of Materials, Department of Bioengineering and Institute for Biomedical Engineering, Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2AZ, UK
Download a copy of the paper: https://fileexchange.imperial.ac.uk/files/cb229a60c28/NNANO%202012%20186.pdf
Imperial College London
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Cheap, Ultra-Sensitive Colour Test Spots Early HIV, Cancer

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Main Category: HIV / AIDS
Also Included In: Medical Devices / Diagnostics;  Prostate / Prostate Cancer
Article Date: 29 Oct 2012 – 3:00 PDT

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Researchers in the UK have developed a “naked eye” colour test for virus and disease biomarkers that is ten times more sensitive than current gold standard methods. They have tested it on HIV and prostate cancer biomarkers, and suggest it offers a cheap and simple way of spotting early onset of these and other diseases that could be of particular benefit in poorer countries.

In a paper published online in Nature Nanotechnology on 28 October, Roberto de la Rica and Molly Stevens, from Imperial College London, write how their prototype visual sensor technology detected an HIV biomarker called p24 in blood samples.

Stevens, a professor with Imperial’s departments of Materials and Bioengineering, explains in a statement how important it is to keep testing patients on HIV treatment to assess the effectiveness of retroviral therapies and check for new infections, but:

“Unfortunately, the existing gold standard detection methods can be too expensive to be implemented in parts of the world where resources are scarce.”

Our approach affords for improved sensitivity, does not require sophisticated instrumentation and it is ten times cheaper, which could allow more tests to be performed for better screening of many diseases,” she adds.

Prostate Cancer, Other Diseases

De la Rica and Stevens also report how they tested their method’s ability to detect low levels of Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA), which can be an early indicator for prostate cancer.

They say the test can be reconfigured to detect known biomarkers of other viruses and diseases.

“We have developed a test that we hope will enable previously undetectable HIV infections and indicators of cancer to be picked up, which would mean people could be treated sooner,” says de la Rica, from the Department of Materials at Imperial.

Blue and Red Reactions Visible to Naked Eye

The biosensor is so sensitive, it allows detection of a few molecules. It analyzes serum, derived from blood, in a disposable, see-through container.

If the result is positive for p24 or PSA, the solution inside the container turns blue, if it is negative, it turns red.

It works because of reactions with gold nanoparticles:

“The enzyme label of an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) controls the growth of gold nanoparticles and generates coloured solutions with distinct tonality when the analyte is present,” write the authors.

If the analyte (eg p24 or PSA) is present, the reaction generates irregular clumps of nanoparticles, and these give off a distinct blue hue in the solution inside the container.

If the analyte is absent, the nanoparticles separate into ball-like shapes, which give off a reddish hue. In both cases the reactions can be seen with the naked eye.

Detecting Ultra-Low Levels of Biomarker

In their paper, the authors describe how their test picked up minute levels of p24 and PSA. And in the case of HIV-infected patients with low viral loads, the prototype test detected p24 at levels undetectable by the current gold standard test:

“Prostate specific antigen (PSA) and HIV-1 capsid antigen p24 were detected in whole serum at the ultralow concentration of [1 x 10 to the minus 18 g per ml]. p24 was also detected with the naked eye in the sera of HIV-infected patients showing viral loads undetectable by a gold standard nucleic acid-based test,” they write.

Next Step

The team now plans to approach not-for-profit global health organizations for funding and direction to move the test from the lab into manufacturing and distribution, especially in low income countries.

De la Rica says they “believe that this test could be significantly cheaper to administer, which could pave the way for more widespread use of HIV testing in poorer parts of the world”.

Funds from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), the European Research Council (ERC), and a Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship within the 7th European Community Framework Programme, helped finance the study.

Written by Catharine Paddock PhD
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today

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“Plasmonic ELISA for the ultrasensitive detection of disease biomarkers with the naked eye”; Roberto de la Rica and Molly M. Stevens; Nature Nanotechnology, Published online 28 October 2012; DOI:10.1038/nnano.2012.186; Link to Abstract;
Additional source: Imperial College London.
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Multivitamins May Help Prevent Cancer

Older Men Who Took Vitamins Had Modest Reduction in Cancer, but Experts Can’t Say if Findings Apply to Others

vitamins on green leaf

Oct. 17, 2012 (Anaheim, Calif.) — Taking a daily multivitamin for years may lower the risk of cancer, according to new research.

The study followed nearly 15,000 middle-aged and older men for about 11 years. It is not yet clear if the findings would apply to women or younger men.

“The main findings were a reduction in total cancers of 8%,” says researcher J. Michael Gaziano, MD, MPH, a researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

”Our main message is that the main reason to take a multivitamin is to prevent nutritional deficiency,” Gaziano said at a news briefing today at an American Association for Cancer Research meeting held here.

“It appears there is a modest benefit for cancer reduction in men over 50,” he said.

The findings are also published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Vitamins and Cancer Risk: Details

The men were enrolled in the Physicians’ Health Study (PHS) II. It studied the long-term effects of taking a multivitamin on the prevention of chronic disease, including cancer.

In the study, about half of the 15,000 men took a daily multivitamin, Centrum Silver. The other half took placebo. When they started the study, they were 50 or older.

At the start, 1,312 men had a history of cancer, but none had active cancer.

The researchers tracked the men to see who developed cancers, except non-melanoma skin cancers.

Cancer by the Numbers

In the vitamin group, there were 1,290 cancers. In the placebo group, there were 1,379.

About half of the cancers in each group were of the prostate.

Those diagnoses, the researchers say, were probably influenced by the increase in screening for prostate cancer during the study.

Most of the prostate cancers were earlier stage, with high survival rates.

When the researchers looked at cancers overall, they found the 8% reduction. No effect of a vitamin was found on prostate cancer by itself.

When the researchers separated out the prostate cancers, they found a 12% reduction in the incidence of all other cancers.

The researchers found no differences in the risk of death from cancer between the groups.

Health behaviors that could affect cancer risk, such as smoking and exercise, were evenly divided between groups, Gaziano says.

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Following Radiation In Prostate Cancer, Risk Markers Discovered For Erectile Dysfunction

Main Category: Prostate / Prostate Cancer
Also Included In: Erectile Dysfunction / Premature Ejaculation;  Radiology / Nuclear Medicine
Article Date: 29 Sep 2012 – 0:00 PDT

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Following Radiation In Prostate Cancer, Risk Markers Discovered For Erectile Dysfunction

In the first study of its kind, a research team led by Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University discovered 12 genetic markers associated with the development of erectile dysfunction (ED) in prostate cancer patients who were treated with radiation. The findings, published online in advance of the October 1, 2012 print issue in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology• Biology• Physics, the official scientific journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology, are an important step towards helping clinicians determine the best course of treatment for prostate cancer patients and may lead to the development of therapies that alleviate side effects.

The main treatments for prostate cancer – surgery, brachytherapy (seed implants) and external beam radiation therapy – are all very effective at curing prostate cancer. Unfortunately, each treatment places patients at risk for ED. According to the National Cancer Institute, the prevalence of erectile dysfunction following external beam radiation for prostate cancer ranges from 65 percent to 85 percent. The Prostate Cancer Foundation estimates prevalence of ED following seed therapy at 25 to 50 percent. Many men will be able to regain their potency with time and treatments, but doctors would like to identify which men may be more likely to develop this side effect.

In the first large scale Genome-Wide Association Study to identify single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) associated with susceptibility for the development of erectile dysfunction following radiotherapy for prostate cancer, researchers conducted a two-part study, first, to discover the candidate genetic markers of side effect risk, and second, to confirm which of those markers are replicated in a second group of patients. In the first group of prostate cancer patients, which included 132 men who developed erectile dysfunction after radiotherapy and 103 men similarly treated who did not develop erectile dysfunction, they found a set of genetic markers associated with erectile dysfunction. In the second part of the study, which examined 128 patients who developed erectile dysfunction after radiotherapy and 102 who did not, researchers confirmed that 12 SNPs were associated with erectile dysfunction.

“Thankfully, current treatments for prostate cancer offer excellent rates of long-term survival, so patients and their physicians have a choice about which treatment path to take,” said Barry Rosenstein, PhD, Professor of Radiation Oncology, Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “However, the risk of developing erectile dysfunction after radiation treatment is highly variable, suggesting there may be a genetic component to determining that risk. Our study confirms that specific markers make certain patients more susceptible to this side effect.”

Patients in the study cohort were given one of three treatments: internal radiotherapy, known as brachytherapy; brachytherapy plus external beam radiation; or external beam radiation alone. They were followed for an average length of nearly four years to determine level of sexual function after treatment.
Interestingly, the 12 SNPs identified in this study were located near genes that seem to be related to erectile function rather than related to radiation response. The researchers conclude that these SNPs may affect genes that sensitize a patient to developing erectile dysfunction when exposed to radiation during therapy.

“Prostate cancer screening and treatment are undergoing major shifts,” said Harry Ostrer, MD, Professor of Pathology and Genetics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Director of Genetic and Genomic Testing at Montefiore Medical Center and co-principal investigator of the study. “This is part of our ongoing effort to identify men at highest risk for disease, identify the aggressive tumors that would be responsive to therapy, and to improve quality of life for men with indolent prostate cancers who might benefit from active surveillance, rather than therapy.”

The authors indicate that examination of a large, independent cohort of similarly treated patients will be necessary to definitively determine which SNPs to include as part of a clinically useful predictive test to identify which men are at greatest risk for developing erectile dysfunction following prostate cancer radiotherapy. The researchers are also evaluating the impact of radiation treatment on urinary complications and proctitis, the inflammation of the rectum.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our prostate / prostate cancer section for the latest news on this subject.
This study was supported by the American Cancer Society, United States Department of Defense, and the National Institutes of Health.
The Mount Sinai Hospital / Mount Sinai School of Medicine
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n.p. (2012, September 29). “Following Radiation In Prostate Cancer, Risk Markers Discovered For Erectile Dysfunction.” . Retrieved fromhttp://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/250797.php.

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Predicting Erectile Dysfunction From Prostate Cancer Treatment

Main Category: Prostate / Prostate Cancer
Also Included In: Erectile Dysfunction / Premature Ejaculation
Article Date: 27 Sep 2012 – 1:00 PDT

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Researchers have identified 12 DNA sequences that may help doctors determine which men will suffer from erectile dysfunction (ED) following radiation therapy for prostate cancer. Identifying these patients in advance of treatment may better inform men and their families as to which prostate cancer treatments are best for their specific cancer and lifestyle, according to a study to be published online September 27, 2012, in advance of the October 1, 2012 print issue, in the International Journal of Radiation Oncology• Biology• Physics (Red Journal), the official scientific journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO). The findings could also guide doctors in recommending the most effective treatments that carry the least risk of patients developing ED.
The main treatments for prostate cancer – surgery, brachytherapy (seed implants) and external beam radiation therapy – are all very effective at curing prostate cancer. Unfortunately, each treatment places patients at risk for ED. Although many men will maintain their potency, doctors would like to identify which men are at greatest risk for the development of difficulty with sexual function.
In this multi-institutional, multi-national study, researchers from New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in Bronx, N.Y., New York University School of Medicine, Florida Radiation Oncology Group in Jacksonville, Fla., and Maastricht University Medical Center in Maastricht, the Netherlands, examined 593 men who were treated with brachytherapy and/or external beam radiation therapy and hormone therapy. Of them, 260 reported erectile dysfunction.
“Through a two-stage genome-wide association study, 12 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified that were associated with the development of erectile dysfunction after radiation treatment for prostate cancer,” said Barry S. Rosenstein, PhD, department of radiation oncology at New York’s Mount Sinai Medical School. “If validated further, these SNPs could provide the basis for a blood test that would enable radiation oncologists to predict more accurately which men are most likely to develop erectile dysfunction after prostate cancer radiation therapy.”
“Prostate cancer screening and treatment are undergoing major shifts,” said Harry Ostrer, MD, professor of pathology and genetics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, director of genetic and genomic testing at Montefiore Medical Center and co-principal investigator of the study. “This is part of our ongoing effort to personalize and optimize treatment for prostate cancer.”

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our prostate / prostate cancer section for the latest news on this subject.
Disclosures: One author (NS) reports to have received consulting fees or honoraria from Amgen, Ferring, Janssen, Diversified Conference Management, Prologics LLC, and Nihon MediPhysics. Another author (RS) has received fees for developing lectures and educational materials for Bard.

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n.p. (2012, September 27). “Predicting Erectile Dysfunction From Prostate Cancer Treatment.” . Retrieved fromhttp://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/250722.php.

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