Researchers at Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University Develop Noninvasive Diagnostic Tool for Prostate Cancer

Published: Tuesday, Mar 07, 2017

Scientists at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University have developed a non-invasive technique to detect the presence of prostate cancer cells in patients' urine. The pilot study, led by Mathew L. Thakur, Ph.D., Director, Laboratories of Radiopharmaceutical Research and Molecular Imaging and Professor of Radiology and Radiation Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, is now published in The British Journal of Urology. The research demonstrates that a test using voided urine can target VPAC receptors which are commonly expressed on malignant PCa cells.

Using optical imaging technology to detect PCa cells shed in voided urine, the research team identified VPAC positive cells in 98.6 percent of the patients having a PCa diagnosis and none (0%) of the patients presenting with benign prostatic hyperplasia.

“The two most important virtues of this technology are its accuracy and simplicity,” said Dr. Thakur. Currently, the only methods for diagnosing prostate cancer involve more invasive, costly, yet less reliable procedures, including digital rectal examination, biopsy, or urine analysis that requires direct prostate stimulation. “We believe that a diagnostic test that is simple and more comfortable for the patient will encourage more frequent screening and help improve early diagnosis of prostate cancer,” added Dr. Thakur.

The technology is patent-pending and has been licensed to NuView Dx, in Park City, Utah. “We are excited about this technology which promises to avoid millions of unnecessary biopsies, save patient morbidity and spare millions of health care dollars,” said Paul Crowe, Chief Executive Officer of NuView Dx.

Research team member Leonard Gomella, M.D., Chair, Department of Urology at Thomas Jefferson University at the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, concludes, “This is a highly promising biofluid assay that, once fully developed, may play an important role in the management of prostate cancer.”

About Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center

A leading center for practice-changing discovery and comprehensive cancer treatment, the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center of the Thomas Jefferson University has been known as a Designated Center by the National Cancer Institute since 1996, and is one of only 69 institutions in the nation to hold this prestigious recognition. SKCC is committed to delivering the most advanced, personalized cancer care, made possible through their scientific discoveries and breakthroughs in detecting and treating cancer. SKCC provides access to advanced clinical trials and novel treatment strategies throughout the Greater Delaware Valley, realized through our integral sites in Center City Philadelphia, Abington, Aria, and the comprehensive, Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center Network. Routinely ranked amongst the top hospitals for cancer care in the United States by US News & World Report, the multi-disciplinary teams at SKCC bring together specialists for treatment planning, which results in some of the highest survival rates in the nation.

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