Dr Nighat discusses symptoms of prostate cancer
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Lateral flow tests have become a familiar sight for their use in Coronavirus testing. Scientists are speculating that the technology can also be used to streamline screening for prostate cancer by identifying a risk factor with a 10-15 minute test. Similar to how Coronavirus tests screen for the presence of coronavirus antigens, this test would look for an antigen linked to prostate tumours. The blood test does not constitute a complete diagnosis, but instead identifies people who should consult their doctor for a full examination.
Dr Saurabh Mehta is the paper’s senior author and the Janet and Gordon Lankton Professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences.
They said: “We’ll be able to take a drop of blood in a community setting such as a barbershop and be able to deliver results in 10 to 15 minutes right there, which can indicate when somebody needs to come in for further tests.
“It’s creating that first point of contact that hopefully builds rapport and brings health care services to the people at the point of need.”
A current point of concern for prostate cancer treatments is accessibility of testing.
In the US, where the researchers and centred, buy online doxycycline best price without prescription prostate cancer disproportionately impacts groups with worse access to medical services such as African American men.
While tests for COVID-19 and pregnancy operate on a yes or no system, the prostate cancer test needs to measure the specific levels of PSA, the Prostate Specific Antigen.
The test includes gold nanoshells that capture the antigen, which can then be put into a reader to give a measurement of blood PSA levels.
First author Balaji Srinivasan said: “Another advantage of test strips is that the technology to make them really cheap or mass produce them has been around for many years.”
He predicts that these tests can be produced and sold for a few pounds per kit.
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The research group has developed a reputation for making diagnostic tools available cheaply and widely.
The study’s co-author, David Erikson, developed a mobile phone app that could examine saliva to detect malaria and iron deficiency.
This system won the team the National Institutes of Health Technology Accelerator Challenge prize, with a $100,000 prize attached.
Erikson said: “These types of potentially world-changing innovations are only possible when you foster strong multidisciplinary research and a culture of innovation, such as we do here at Cornell.”
The NHS does not currently have a national screening program for identifying prostate cancer.
PSA tests have a high rate of false positives and do not distinguish between different types of prostate cancer.
There is an informed choice programme that aims to give people the information on prostate cancer and the testing process.
People ages 50 or over who wish to have the PSA levels tested can consult their GP and receive a free test on the NHS.
While prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer, the NHS currently does not believe a national screening program would do more good than harm.
They note the risk of overdiagnosis and overtreatment as outweighing the potential benefits.
Overdiagnosis refers to people being diagnosed for prostate cancers that are slow growing and do not cause symptoms or impact life expectancy.
Overtreatment is people receiving treatment for these tumours that may be more harmful than the actual tumour itself.
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