In order to prevent the onset of prostate cancer, we are looking for "predictive markers"--certain early warning signs that cells may become cancerous. If we can identify these markers, we may be able to make a confident diagnosis earlier than had previously been possible.
One predictive marker that we are now testing is methy-6-adenosine (m6A), which is related to RNA (ribonucleic acid). Levels of m6A seem higher in prostate cancer cell lines. To find out whether this is so, we test for the presence of m6A using antibodies that are commercially available. The procedure is to take RNA samples from patient tumors, then use the antibodies to detect whether these samples have higher-than-normal levels of m6A.
A second line of investigation involves another constituent of RNA called pseudouridine. Reviewing genomic data, it appears that pseudouridine is abnormally high in patients who have prostate cancer. This, too, could be a diagnostic tool. The next step is to develop the antibodies that will allow us to identify levels of pseudouridine in the urine of patients. We would then have another diagnostic biomarker that could be used to test urine samples