Patterns of proteins found in patients blood serum may help distinguish between prostate cancer and benign conditions, scientists from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report today in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute*. The technique, which relies on a simple test using a drop of blood, may be useful in deciding whether to perform a biopsy in men with elevated prostate specific antigen (PSA) levels.
Using a test that can analyze the patterns of small proteins in blood serum samples in just 30 minutes, researchers were able to differentiate between samples taken from patients diagnosed with cancer and those from patients diagnosed with benign prostate disease. The technique proved effective not only in men with normal and high PSA levels, but also in those whose PSA levels were marginally elevated (4 to 10 nanograms of antigen per milliliter of fluid), in whom it is difficult to rule out cancer without a biopsy.
Although the technique is still under evaluation, researchers believe the analysis of protein patterns will be a useful tool in the future for deciding whether men with marginally elevated PSA levels should undergo biopsy. PSA levels are commonly used as a preliminary screen for prostate cancer, but 70 percent to 75 percent of men who undergo biopsy because of an abnormal PSA level do not have cancer. The new proteomic approach has a higher specificity - that is, of the samples the test identifies as cancer, a large percentage are in fact cancer, rather than some other benign disease.
NCI Press Office | EurekAlert!
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Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.
A warming planet
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
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