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Once limited to the electronics industry, semiconductor material may hold the key to improving early detection of prostate cancer among African-American men.
Nanotechnology using quantum dots (QD) made from semiconductor material allowed researchers to detect six biomarkers linked to prostate cancer. Quantum dots (QD) are 5-20 nm in diameter. For comparison, a human hair measures 100,000 nm in diameter. The small size of the QDs results in new optical properties that allow observers to determine the size and energy of the QD and where it will emit light along the color spectrum.
"Smaller QDs are higher energy and emit in the blue part of the spectrum, whereas the larger-sized but lower-energy QDs emit light in the red part of the spectrum," explained lead in-vestigator Catherine Phelan, MD, PhD, an assistant professor in cancer prevention and control at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute, Tampa, Fla. "If you want to look at a particular known protein in the blood, such as PSA, you can attach the specific antibody for that protein to the QD and, using a laser, observe where the emission peak lies in the color spectrum. The height of the peak represents the amount of protein in the blood sample."
Dr. Phelan and her colleagues targeted established prostate cancer biomarkers: PSA, kallikrein 2 (KLK2), kallikren 14 (KLK14), osteoprotegerin (OPG), antip53Ab, caveolin-1 (Cav-1) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in a specific African-American prostate cancer case-control collection.
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