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January 17, 2008

U.S. ARMY RESEARCH UNIT AWARDS CCNY SCIENTIST $542,940 FOR NONINVASIVE PROSTATE CANCER DETECTION RESEARCH

Funds to Support Prototype Device for Clinical Use

NEW YORK, January 17, 2008 – Dr. Wubao Wang, a senior scientist at the Institute for Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers (IUSL) at The City College of New York (CCNY), has been awarded a three-year $542,940 grant by the U. S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command for noninvasive methods for detection of prostate cancer.  

Dr. Wang and collaborators Dr. Min Xu of Fairfield University and Dr. James Eastham of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) are developing a rectal near-infrared (NIR) light-based scanning polarization imaging unit and independent component analysis algorithm for detecting prostate cancer.

The current standard tests for prostate cancer, the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test and the digital rectal exam (DRE) can indicate an abnormality, but do not provide a definitive diagnosis.  A needle biopsy, which removes tissue samples from the prostate gland, is recommended to confirm whether cancer is actually present.

However, malignancies are discovered in only one-quarter of all men who undergo prostate needle biopsy.  In most cases, patients are subjected to unnecessary anxiety and some risk of infection from the invasive procedure.  Given the low degree of accuracy of PSA and DRE tests, and the need to avoid unnecessary, invasive procedures, a more accurate, noninvasive method of diagnosing prostate cancer is highly desirable.

IUSL scientists began investigating the use of spectral polarization NIR imaging for prostate cancer detection in 1998.  In vitro tests with cancerous and normal tissues, and with contrast agents, have since shown measurable spectral, scattering, and polarization differences between the two tissue types based on water content, cell density and adsorption of contrast agents.  

Under the newly funded project, “Development of Rectal Near-Infrared (NIR) Scanning Polarization Imaging Unit and Independent Component-Analysis Algorithm for Prostate Cancer Detection,” the researchers will take their observations from the laboratory NIR imaging system at IUSL, and develop a prototype device for clinical testing.

Initially, the laboratory imaging system will be modified to scan and acquire multiple two-dimensional images of normal and cancerous prostate tissue samples.  An inverse image reconstruction algorithm and software program will also be modified to reconstruct three-dimensional (3-D) images from the acquired two-dimensional (2-D) images.  Once the modifications are tested, a prototype portable NIR scanning imaging unit with a rectal probe suitable for imaging the prostate through the rectum will be built.  

After further testing on in vitro prostate and rectum tissue samples, the prototype imaging unit will be taken to MSKCC for in vivo clinical tests.  Patients with abnormal PSA or DRE results will be examined with the NIR scanning imaging system. The resultant 3-D images will be compared against ultrasound imaging and biopsy measurements of the same patients to evaluate the new system’s ability to optically distinguish and locate cancer in vivo.

About The City College of New York

For more than 160 years, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. Over 14,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Architecture, the School of Education, the Grove School of Engineering and the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education. For additional information, visit www.ccny.cuny.edu.

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