With prostate cancer ranked as the third most common type of cancer in the United States, accurate screening and detection for the disease is essential. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, more than 180,000 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed in 2016. Early detection is critical to saving lives, but diagnosing the disease has proven to be a challenge.
Results from a 2014 study showed that trained canines were able to sniff out prostate cancer with a shocking 97 percent accuracy rate. Armed with this information, researchers at the Integrated Nanosystems Development Institute of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center set out to develop a sensor capable of detecting the compounds responsible for the scent. According to results presented at the 253rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the scientists are making progress and have likely identified molecules responsible for producing the scent associated with prostate cancer.
Next steps include validating their results through large-scale tests at multiple health centers. Depending on the outcome, this new test could be available to health professionals within the next few years and reduce the number of unnecessary prostate biopsies performed each year.