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Home > News > Early diagnosis of prostate cancer with gold nanoparticles

November 1st, 2007

Early diagnosis of prostate cancer with gold nanoparticles

Treating prostate cancer is a race against time. By the time the patient can feel the first symptoms, the disease has usually spread too far. A novel diagnostic technique combines optical imaging with ultrasound, thus improving early diagnosis.

By the time the first symptoms of prostate cancer become apparent, the tumor has usually spread too far and there is little hope of curing it. Early diagnosis can help to save lives. While CAT scans, X-rays and magnetic resonance devices can frequently detect tumors in time, the cost of routine examinations is often too high, and the devices are not always sensitive enough. Ultrasound is a cost-efficient alternative, but is not very reliable.

A novel, cost-efficient and sensitive device will soon increase the number of early diagnoses of prostate cancer and offer more patients the prospect of recovery. This diagnostic device was developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Technology IBMT in St. Ingbert in collaboration with partners from five European countries. The European Commission is funding the project to the tune of 2.2 million euros. "We use a combination of two different imaging techniques: optical imaging and ultrasound," says IBMT department manager Dr. Robert Lemor. "We shine laser light into the tissue, causing it to heat up and expand. This generates pressure in the form of a sound wave, which spreads through the tissue in much the same way as ultrasound and is also detected in the same way." The researchers thus combine the good contrast of light with the good spatial resolution of sound, using the advantages of both systems.


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