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27 May, 2024
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Blood test detects cancer 7 years before diganosis

Oxford University scientists identified 618 proteins associated with 19 cancer types


Researchers funded by Cancer Research UK have made a groundbreaking discovery that could revolutionize cancer detection by up to seven years using a simple blood test. By identifying proteins in the blood linked to various cancers, including some detectable years before diagnosis, scientists hope to enable earlier treatment or even prevent the disease altogether.

In two studies, Oxford University scientists identified 618 proteins associated with 19 cancer types, including 107 proteins found in individuals whose blood was collected at least seven years before diagnosis. Using proteomics, a technique analyzing proteins in tissue samples, researchers found that certain proteins could indicate cancer development in its earliest stages, offering the potential for prevention or earlier intervention.

The first study analyzed blood samples from over 44,000 British individuals, identifying 1,463 proteins in a single blood sample from each person. They compared proteins in those who did and did not develop cancer, finding 182 proteins that differed in blood samples taken three years before diagnosis.

In a second study, genetic data from over 300,000 cancer cases were examined to identify blood proteins influencing the risk of nine cancer types. Researchers identified 40 proteins impacting cancer risk, with potential implications for new treatments. However, altering these proteins may have unintended side effects, requiring further research.

While these findings offer hope for improved cancer prevention and treatment, researchers emphasize the need for additional studies to determine which proteins are reliable for testing, develop detection tests, and identify drugs targeting these proteins. The research, published in Nature Communications, marks a significant step toward personalized cancer prevention and therapy, potentially offering longer, better lives free from cancer-related fears.

[Source: Metro UK]

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