Researchers have designed a new nano tool which could become a new way of mining blood samples for information about cancer, according to a study released on Wednesday by the University of Manchester.
Minimally invasive blood tests have the potential to detect and monitor life-threatening diseases such as cancer. But the markers released into the bloodstream as a response to a disease are often difficult to detect because they are too small and too few in number, Xinhua news agency reported.
The study, led by researchers from the University of Manchester showed that small molecules — specifically proteins — stick to the nanoparticles while in the blood circulation of cancer patients. Collecting the nanoparticles from the blood can then allow the analysis of the sticky molecules, some of which are released from the growing cancer.
“We want to amplify cancer signals in the blood that would otherwise be buried among all this other ‘molecular noise’,” said study author Prof Kostas Kostarelos from Manchester.
Men with low or intermediate-risk prostate cancer can safely undergo higher doses of radiation over a significantly shorter period of time and still have the same, successful outcomes as from a much longer course of treatment, according to researchers including one of Indian-origin.
The study showed that this type of radiation – stereotactic body radiotherapy – is a form of external beam radiation therapy, which reduces the duration of treatment from 45 days to four to five days with no evidence of causing worse toxicity in the long run.
“Most men with low or intermediate-risk prostate cancer undergo conventional radiation, which requires them to come in daily for treatment and takes an average of nine weeks to complete,” said lead author Amar Kishan, Assistant Professor at University of California, Los Angeles, in the US.
“With the improvements being made to modern technology, we have found that using stereotactic body radiotherapy, which has a higher dose of radiation, can safely and effectively be done in a much shorter timeframe without additional toxicity or compromising any chance of a cure,” said Kishan.
For the study, the team included 2,142 men with low or intermediate-risk prostate cancer who were treated with stereotactic body radiotherapy. They were followed for a median of 6.9 years.
Nearly, 53 per cent men had low-risk disease, 32 per cent had less aggressive intermediate-risk disease and 12 per cent had a more aggressive form of intermediate-risk disease.
In addition, the recurrence rate for men with low-risk disease was 4.5 per cent, 8.6 per cent for the less aggressive intermediate-risk, and 14.9 per cent for the more aggressive intermediate-risk group, findings published in the journal JAMA Network Open showed.
Overall, the recurrence rate for intermediate-risk disease was 10.2 per cent.