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Tiny Bits Of Gold Could Hold Key To Treating Prostate Cancer Without The Side Effects

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- What do tiny bits of gold and laser beams have in common? Combined they are the latest exciting technique for treating prostate cancer.

As CBS2's Dr. Max Gomez explained, it might avoid most of the side effects of other prostate treatments.

"I had a biopsy and it showed cancer," Marty Feeney said.

It was an elevated PSA blood test that led Marty Feeney to have the biopsy. At first his doctor recommended active surveillance -- keeping close watch to see if his cancer showed signs of spreading and becoming life threatening. After a couple years, it did.

"I'd have to do something, and I didn't know if it would be surgery or radiation," he said, "I would rather avoid surgery."

Instead, Marty volunteered to be the first in the world to have an innovative new technique that uses microscopic nanoparticles of gold fifty times smaller than a red blood cell.

"The reason we use gold nanoparticles first is because gold is an inert object, it doesn't affect the body," Dr. Art Rastinehad of Mount Sinai Hospital explained.

The nanoparticles are used because tumors often have leaky capillaries so the tiny gold spheres can actually escape and accumulate in the cancer. That's when the laser comes in.

"What is unique about these particles is that the laser energy that we use only excites the particles so tissues around it do not get damaged if they are not cancerous," Dr. Rastinehad said.

In other words, the nanoparticles heat up and destroy the cancer, but spare the sexual function nerves and urine tube that are often damaged by other techniques.

It's done as an outpatient procedure. Marty was the first in a clinical trial being led by Dr. Rastinehead at Mount Sinai Hospital.

"I went home and never experienced pain. Within a week I was riding a bike and playing golf. I felt there was no recovery period," he said.

Marty said he's had none of the common side effects of prostate cancer treatments.

This is still experimental, and the best candidates are men who have low or intermediate risk focal cancer, meaning it's in just a few localized spots within the prostate.


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