New blood test detects cancer seven years earlier

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  • a month ago

Groundbreaking research led by the University of Oxford's population health department has found that a cocktail of proteins in the blood may indicate the presence of cancer up to seven years before it is typically diagnosed. Two studies published in the journal Nature Communications analyzed blood samples from over 44,000 participants, including nearly 5,000 individuals later diagnosed with cancer.

Using a technique called proteomics, researchers identified 618 proteins significantly associated with cancer presence, with 107 proteins detectable in blood samples collected up to seven years before diagnosis. This discovery opens the possibility of detecting cancer much earlier than current methods allow.

Furthermore, a second study examined genetic data from 300,000 cancers and found 40 proteins associated with the development of at least one of nine types of cancer. Of these proteins, 18 are already targeted by existing drugs, suggesting the potential for early detection and treatment of cancers before traditional diagnosis.

Professor Ruth Travis, a senior molecular epidemiologist at the University of Oxford, emphasized the importance of understanding the earliest stages of cancer development in order to prevent the disease. While these findings offer promising insights into cancer biology, further research is needed to evaluate the potential side effects of targeting these proteins with drugs in healthy individuals.

Iain Foulkes, executive director of research and innovation at Cancer Research U.K., highlighted the significance of these discoveries in paving the way for preventive therapies and ultimately giving people longer, better lives free from the fear of cancer. The research represents a crucial step towards early detection and treatment of various types of cancer, potentially revolutionizing the field of oncology.


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