Prostate cancer is a very slow progressing disease. The cancer initiates with small changes occurring in the shape and size of the prostate gland cells. The fact that prostate cancer can remain in a human for years before spreading to other organs makes monitoring its progression and response to treatment an important, long-term process.
Typically, biopsy is performed to track the spread of this disease in which small samples of the prostate are removed with the help of a needle.
A new technique has been developed at the Washington State University for diagnosing prostate cancer in a non- invasive way.
Specific biomarkers are installed within the device that attract fatty droplets of proteins and RNA shed by the tumor cells into body fluids such as blood or urine. When a blood or urine sample is passed through this device, the number of fatty droplets or exosomes that are specifically from prostate cancer cells can be detected.
The researchers are hopeful that this new approach can be applied to help treat patients with other forms of cancer and diseases as well such as breast cancer, pancreatic cancer.