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 October 11, 2013

RCBU Members Develop New Way to Detect Prostate Cancer

RCBU members Vikram Dogra and Navalgund Rao received a patent earlier this year for the new technology, called photoacoustic imaging. Their system uses rapid bursts of laser light to bombard a specific region of the body, with the resulting sound waves captured to create a series of high resolution images. This new technique could make a significant impact when compared to the traditional means of detecting and diagnosing prostate cancer.

Dr. Dogra, whose specialty is diagnostic radiology, said that the effectiveness of these traditional techniques is limited. Almost half of PSA screened patients get a false-positive from the ultrasound, and biopsies miss about 30 percent of cancer cases.

We can use ultrasound or even MRI, but we simply can't see the prostate very well, Dogra explained. When we go to biopsy, we're often not seeing where the cancer is. We take six samples from each side, but we still might not find the cancer.

That's the beauty of what we are trying to do, Dogra said. This new technology will most likely eliminate the need for doing biopsies completely, or at least allow us to do only a targeted biopsy.