Dr. Girish Shah, a pharmacology professor at the University of Louisiana at Monroe, has received a patent for an invention he hopes will be a better screening tool for prostate cancer.
The prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test used for prostate cancer screening today measures PSA levels in the blood; elevated levels indicate an increased risk of prostate cancer. The test is not always accurate in detecting the cancer, however: About one in five men with elevated levels do not have prostate cancer, and some with lower levels do, according to the American Cancer Society.
Shah's detection system monitors the level of a protein secreted by cancer cells. He says his patented test has proved more reliable than a PSA test in indicating patients at risk for prostate disease. It potentially could help doctors discern at an earlier stage whether a patient has prostate cancer or a benign tumor and begin the appropriate treatment sooner, he says.
The next phase of research for Shah and his team is testing the efficacy of the new screening in high-risk populations, which he says includes conducting studies in hospitals across the country.