New imaging agent has an appetite for dangerous prostate tumors

December 8, 2011

Non-invasive imaging detects prostate cancer earlier than ever before, but can't accurately distinguish between malignant and benign disease. According to Lawson Health Research Institute's Drs. John Lewis and Len Luyt, a new molecular imaging probe could be the answer.

Ghrelin is a growth hormone produced by the stomach and pancreas to stimulate hunger. Malignant are known to consume it at much higher rates than normal . The Lawson team believed this could be the key to singling out .

The Lawson team developed a ghrelin-based imaging agent, modifying the structure by decorating it with a fluorescent compound. Next, they tested it on samples from patients with prostate cancer. Results showed the signal was almost 5 times stronger in the malignant cancer cells than in normal prostate cells or benign cancer cells.

"Imaging tests such as PET or MRI are used to diagnose a number of cancers without biopsy, but biopsy is still the best option for prostate cancer," Dr. Lewis says. "This work suggests that imaging using may allow us to perform a non-invasive biopsy to diagnose prostate cancer and potentially detect metastasis earlier."

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not rated yet Dec 08, 2011
This suggests the use of a fluorescent agent 'where the sun don't shine.' Wouldn't it be rather difficult to see?

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