Nanotech-based innovative prostate cancer test helps bypass unneeded painful biopsies

Nanotechnology makes the headlines again, this time saving men from painful biopsies for aggressive prostate cancer diagnosis.

Who, Where and What- Researchers of the Alberta Prostate Cancer Research Initiative (APCaRI) in Alberta, Canada developed a highly sensitive blood test that incorporates an exceptional nanotechnology platform to diagnose aggressive prostate cancer using only a single drop of blood.

How- The test, called Extracellular Vesicle Fingerprint Predictive Score (EV-FPS), uses artificial intelligence to combine information from millions of cancer cell nanoparticles in the blood to identify the unique fingerprint of aggressive prostate cancer.

The diagnostic was appraised in 377 Albertan men who had received urologist referrals for suspected prostate cancer. EV-FPS identified men with the aggressive disease 40% more precisely than the widespread test in use nowadays- the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test.

“For this kind of test you want the sensitivity to be as high as possible because you don’t want to miss a single cancer that should be treated,” said John Lewis, the Alberta Cancer Foundation’s Frank and Carla Sojonky Chair of Prostate Cancer Research at the University of Alberta.


University of Alberta prostate cancer researcher Dr. John Lewis, left, and graduate student Srijan Raha in their lab.  Image credit: University of Alberta


Why- The team points out that current screening tests like PSA and digital rectal exam (DRE) often pave way for unneeded biopsies. Lewis believes half the men undergoing biopsy do not have prostate cancer and yet have to endure biopsy-associated pain and side effects such as infection or sepsis. Fewer than 20% of men undergoing prostate biopsy are those diagnosed with the aggressive form of prostate cancer; the cohort that could most benefit from treatment. From a larger perspective, we’re all aware of the load on hospitals and doctors around the world. Successful implementation of the EV-FPS could potentially put an end to about 600,000 unnecessary biopsies, 24,000 hospitalizations and about 50% unnecessary treatments for prostate cancer each year in North America alone. Most importantly, the new diagnostic will have an enormous positive affect on the quality of life and healthcare experience for men and their families.

The team plans to bring the test from bench side to market through University of Alberta spin-off company Nanostics Inc.

Personal Opinion- If this test for aggressive prostate cancer proves successful and viable, the research team may extend its implementation to the diagnosis of other aggressive cancer types.

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Meaning: Wandering in the clouds; moving through the air.

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Photography by Ink ’em Down.

I snapped these shots while gliding through the clouds on one of my recent air travels. Couldn’t pick a favorite or two to post since they’re all unique in their own subtle ways.

As I was moving through the air, you enjoy moving through my little slideshow!


Value the Moment

Photography by Ink ’em Down
“Each of your breaths is a priceless jewel, since each of them is irreplaceable and once gone, can never be retrieved.”

~ Al-Ghazali

Value the Moment: It’s these little golden pockets of illumination scattered around the picture that give it it’s slightly ethereal blue & gold look. The type of day (cloudy) and the time of day (before sunset) this picture was captured quietly add to its simple grandeur (it would have an invoked an entirely different feeling if taken on a sunny day at noon time). The discreet, lazy puddles of rain including the one, however little, reflecting the liquid pillars (of water) of the fountain, give it a fresh and somewhat tranquil touch. Quietly ponder over and value this moment…

The atomic-level secret of drug-resistant bacteria

image source: pinterest

“We’ve found evidence that atomic motions in proteins play a major role in impacting their function,” said David Giedroc, Lilly Chemistry Alumni Professor at the Indiana University Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences’ Department of Chemistry. These atomic motions dictate protein structure and function, and since proteins serve as important drug targets, this research finding especially resonates with scientists focusing on drug discovery, design and development. Since this is what I’m studying too, these findings speak to me! They are INTRIGUING!  Continue reading “The atomic-level secret of drug-resistant bacteria”