Jaume Reventós: “We need to learn how dogs find cancer by the smell”

Jaume Reventós (1)

Jaume Reventós, PhD, from VHIR, gave a lecture at the hall of the Hospital Duran i Reynals (ICO) on last 29th June. He questioned the current diagnostic tests for prostate cancer and he talked about the kit he is developing to prevent up to 34% of current biopsies. He also spoke of the study about “how the dogs can detect cancer” to develop electronic systems that mimic their olfactory system.


Questioned tests in prostate cancer diagnostic

The prostate cancer is generally regarded as multifocal and heterogenic diseases. The attempts to control the disease are based on the early detection when the tumor is localized to the prostate gland and therefore is possible to cure by prostatectomy. “We try to understand the cancer. We probably need to review all their mechanisms. Some molecules can be used as targets. We have to improve all the processes to detect, treat and cure cancer”, said Reventós.

There are some techniques to detect prostate cancer, as Digital Rectal Examination (DRE), but it is very uncomfortable for patients; biopsy, that is the gold standard, but up to 12-30% of the false negative results in first biopsy; and serum PSA. It is not necessary biopsy in false positives (around 66%).

The PSA test, a widely used test for early detection of prostate cancer, is used in an abusive manner, sometimes incorrectly and it can produce significant collateral damage to some men. Oncologists and urologists agree that it should stop indiscriminately made ​​and defended that evaluates in each case. The decision to measure whether or the PSA should be taken individually by each man after consulting with their doctor.


The need of biomarkers: How to find them?

It can be taken some portions of normal cells and cancer cells and it can be analyzed their properties. Prostate cancer cells are segregating different products which can be detected in the urine. “We wanted to develop a multiplexed RTqPCR-based diagnostic test for prostate cancer that improves serum PSA. We can save up to 34% of biopsies. We try to bring this kit to the market and we have ask for an International patent (PCT)“, said the VHIR researcher.

Comparatives proteomic analysis

The Differential Gel Electrophoresis (DIGE) can compare, identify and quantify proteins. The discovery of new biomarkers in serum and urine remains a challenge. Selected exosomes are present in body serums. The miRNAs can play as prostate cancer biomarkers. We can find them in urine, exosomes, in tissues and in vitro studies. This result can improve the diagnosis and the treatment of prostate cancer.


My dog found my cancer! How?

The capacity of smell of a dog is 10 times bigger than men. “We need to learn how dogs find these illnesses by the smell. There are some initiatives by olfactive properties. How? Odorant and olfactory receptors can find electric signal to develop electric identifications”, concludes Reventós.


Diagnostic kit, soon in the market

To identify new molecule markers of endometrial carcinoma, and to evaluate their diagnostic, from 100 possible biomarkers, the team of Reventós, have find 20 genes. The objective is to develop a diagnostic kit that will be available in the market in this month.

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