men. The PSA test is the product of many minds collaborating over many decades. In 1970 immunologist Richard J. Ablin, of the State University of New York, Buffalo, initially observed PSA. Roswell Park's T. Ming Chu, with other investigators, set out to extend Ablin's observations. Their goal? To develop a blood test for early prostate cancer detection.
In 1979, Chu's colleagues, led by M.C. Wang, characterized and purified the antigen, and in 1980, Lawrence D. Papsidero and fellow scientists confirmed its presence in the blood of prostate cancer patients. Amidst that activity, Chu introduced the PSA test, a screen that picks up early prostate cancer by detecting elevated levels of PSA in the blood.
William Cooner, of the University of South Alabama and William Catalona, of Washington University, produced separate landmark studies—in 1990 and 1991, respectively—showing that combining PSA tests with digital rectal exams is the most effective way to detect prostate cancer.
But, before the PSA test could be employed as a diagnostic screen, urologists