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Research Team at Northeastern University Use Nano to Find Previously Undetectable Cancer in the Prostate

Using a nanotechnology-based tool, they were able to detect previously undetectable levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA)

Northwestern University researchers found measureable PSA levels in each post-operative patient in its study using a nanoparticle-based bio-barcode assay developed by the university team. The university’s press release notes that the technology is based on gold nanoparticle probes, decorated with DNA and antibodies that can recognize and bind to PSA when present at extremely low levels in a blood sample.

The unique technology is 300x more sensitive than current PSA tests. "We have defined a new zero for PSA," said Chad A. Mirkin, George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, professor of medicine and professor of materials science and engineering. "This level of sensitivity in detecting low concentrations of PSA will take the blinders off the medical community, especially when it comes to tracking residual disease."

The group is currently conducting a similar retrospective study of more than 200 patients.

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