A group of researchers in America are conducting tests using biomarkers in an effort to establish whether there are biological signs that could point to some men being more susceptible to developing prostate cancer than others.
The prostate is only found in men. It is located underneath the bladder and surrounds the urethra. Prostate cancer is the most common form of cancer in men, and around 36,000 new cases are diagnosed every single year. And while for a significant proportion of men, prostate cancer may never lead to problems, there are others who will require treatment to prevent it spreading or to slow down its progress.
The work is being carried out at the University of Texas' Cancer Therapy & Research Centre (CTRC). And those involved with the project have been looking for patients to take part in studies over a three month period, according to a report by United Press International. The aim is to develop blood or urine tests that are capable of determining whether a patient is at greater risk of suffering from prostate cancer.
Director of CTRC, Dr Ian Thompson, said that even though he sees a large number of people every year who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer, many of them will never have a problem with it. It is for this reason that Dr Thompson says the idea is to only treat those patients who actually require treatment. In the US, 90 per cent of males who are diagnosed with this particular form of cancer do not receive treatment as medical intervention can cause side effects such as incontinence and impotence.
The research project has been split into three parts. One of these will revolve around trying to find a test that will show which cancers will become more aggressive. Another involves the use of biomarkers in order to help predict which men are at risk of developing prostate cancer. A final study is concentrating on finding biomarkers that will show if a man is already suffering from the cancer.
In many other studies taking place in America and indeed countries all over the world, biomarkers are playing a key role and helping the experts to break new ground when it comes to combating cancer and other diseases.