APR 19, 2020 10:56 AM PDT

Discovery of new biomarker detects urological cancer

New hope for the detection of urological cancers has been published in a study in the Journal of Extracellular Vesicles. The study comes from researchers from Ghent University in Belgium and the University of Turku in Finland. Urological cancers refer to prostate, bladder and kidney cancers.

The researchers have developed a new approach using extracellular vesicles as biomarkers in order to detect cancer. Extracellular vesicles are microscopic vesicles that are released by cancer cells into biological fluids like urine. Until now, the problem has been that the scientific community has been lacking an effective method for separating extracellular vesicles from urine. But these European researchers have come up with a novel solution.

As the authors write in their study, “Urine is considered an ideal proximal fluid for the study of extracellular vesicles in urological cancers due to its direct contact with the urogenital system. We demonstrate that density-based fractionation of urine by bottom-up Optiprep density gradient centrifugation separates extracellular vesicles and soluble proteins with high specificity and repeatability.”

When they applied their method to urine samples from patients with prostate, bladder and kidney cancer, they found that extracellular vesicles in urine carry protein signatures that are particular to those various urological cancers.

This development is huge for the world of urological cancer detection. Their method offers a promising new technique for isolating extracellular vesicles so that they can be used in patient diagnostics and treatment and hopefully improve early detection rates.

Sources: Journal of Extracellular Vesicles, Science Daily

About the Author
  • Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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