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Researchers at the UCF NanoScience Technology Center have developed a test to detect prostate cancer using gold nanoparticles.

The test costs less than $1 and yields results for early-stage prostate cancer, and a container of the gold nanoparticles submersed in water costs around $250, which can be used to administer about 2,500 tests, according to UCF Today press release.

"What's different and unique about our technique is it's a very simple process, and the material required for the test is less than $1," associate professor and developer of the test, Treen Huo, said in the release. "And because it's low-cost, we're hoping most people can have this test in their doctor's office. If we can catch this cancer in its early stages, the impact is going to be big."

Prostate cancer is the second most common type of cancer in the United States, with an estimated 27,000 deaths due to the disease every year, according to the National Cancer Institute. While the most common screening used for this type of cancer is the prostate-specific antigen test, the screening may produce false positives or negatives.

Huo said in the release that her pilot studies show higher confidence accuracy.

Her screening detects a person's immune system response by combining blood from a finger prick with gold nanoparticles. Certain biological markers present in the blood may indicate the presence of cancer, and can stick to the tiny gold particles in clumps.

The test uses a method that measures the size of the particles by determining how much light they deflect. The size indicates whether or not the patient has prostate cancer and at what approximate stage the cancer may be. Results can be obtained within minutes, the release states.

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Nada Hassanein is a Digital Producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @nhassanein_or email her at NadaH@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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