Early Cancer Detection Research Network (EDRN)

Prostate cancer is the most common non-cutaneous malignancy in U.S. males and is the second leading cause of cancer death. Since the mid-1980s, broad use of PSA testing of the U.S. male population has dramatically changed the landscape of clinical prostate cancer by significantly increasing the number of men undergoing prostate biopsy, shifting diagnoses to predominantly early stage disease, and increasing the number of men undergoing treatment for localized prostate cancer. Along with this shift, death rates from prostate cancer have dropped significantly. However, two recent large-scale trials have called into question whether PSA screening is responsible for the drop in prostate cancer death rates and have suggested that PSA testing can lead to unnecessary and harmful biopsies, staging tests and treatments in a huge number of men. Without debating the relative merits of PSA screening, the post-PSA world has spawned significant and costly challenges (financial and human) that must be addressed in our quest for early detection and effective management. Our overall objective is to develop biomarkers that will reduce the impact of these costs. The work of this grant addresses a key unmet need in prostate cancer early detection and management: improving the screening process for this major epithelial cancer.

Overall Vision

(A) We will combine state-of-the-art magneto-nanosensors for multiplexed protein detection using patient blood samples (in vitro) and

(B) molecular ultrasound imaging with targeted microbubbles (in vivo) for the earlier detection and prognostication of prostate cancer.

Long-term, a cost-effective strategy will be optimized with the merger of in vitro diagnostics followed by in vivo molecular imaging to optimize prostate cancer detection and management.

The Canary Center for Cancer Early Detection at Stanford fosters research programs that support two distinct and complementary strategies for prostate cancer detection and management:

  1. development of blood-based screens of prostate cancer diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers, and
  2. targeted imaging tests to detect and localize prostate cancers within the prostate gland.

The Canary Center is uniquely positioned for development of highly translational interdisciplinary research projects. The work that will be undertaken as part of this EDRN award seeks to capitalize on recent cutting-edge technology platforms developed by the PI and Co-investigators funded under the CCNE and MIPS initiatives by applying them to the early detection and management of prostate cancer.

Our approach employs two complementary and synergistic projects:

Project 1 entails the adaptation of our newly-developed magneto-nanosensor for the multiplex analysis of blood biomarkers for prostate cancer detection and prognostication.

Project 2 entails the adaptation of our latest ultrasound technology using tumor angiogenesis-targeted microbubbles to image prostate cancer.

Our goal is to combine these in vitro and in vivo platforms in an integrated approach that will lead to an accurate blood test for the early detection and prognostication of prostate cancer, along with an imaging strategy that will enable the accurate localization and biopsy of prostate lesions.