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.

 

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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.

Post Reference: https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-06/uoaf-nbt060917.php

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The atomic-level secret of drug-resistant bacteria

atom
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”

From Rome to Tomis and Back

(This is a term paper that I did for one of the Writing classes at uni)

 

 

The Roman poet, Ovid. Adapted from https://global.britannica.com/biography/Ovid-Roman-poet

This paper aims to investigate the influence of exile on the Roman poet, Ovid. The theme of his poetry prior to banishment differs substantially from that produced during exile owing to the change in surroundings, experiences, and state-of-mind of the poet. Ovid also introduces certain new poetic elements into his poetry, during his exile, to enrich his work. Scholars of Classics have highlighted several differences between Ovid’s pre- and post- exilic poetry. Four of those differences will be explored in this research paper, which are, the autobiographical nature of post-exilic work, exploitation of the redressive capacity of poetry, usage of creative word-magic and promotion of self-mythology, including intertextuality. The title of this research paper “From Rome to Tomis and Back” is inspired by Ovid’s physical (exilic) journey from Rome to Tomis and his return to Rome in the form of his books (Tristia and Epistulae Ex Ponto), which were, wherein,  preserved and left to be read and appreciated by generations to come.

 

On March 20, 43 BC the Italian Apennine valley of Sulmo saw the birth of one of the most celebrated poets of all time, Publius Ovidius Naso. More commonly known as Ovid, the poet-to-be belonged to an illustrious family of equestrian rank that lived in the city of Sulmo (present day Sulmona) to the east and slightly north of Rome.

Ovid received education in Sulmo and then in Rome for law and politics – an expected career for men belonging to a family of that standing.  However with a natural flair for poetry, Ovid soon denounced his political training for the love of poetry. At the ripe age of seventeen/eighteen, Ovid began narrating his poems in public recitals. Over the years, his works Amores, Metamorphoses, Fasti, Epistulae Heroides, Ars Amatoria and a few others soon earned him the eyes, ears and attention of the society. (Mack, 1988, p. 13-14)

Continue reading “From Rome to Tomis and Back”