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Proteins in the blood could warn about cancer more than 7 years in advance

Proteins in the blood could warn about cancer more than seven years in advance

Jeickson Sulbaran

May 16, 2024 | 11:39 a.m.

Study identifies 618 proteins linked to 19 types of cancer, which could lead to much earlier detection

Proteins present in the blood could warn about cancer more than seven years before its diagnosis, according to recent research. Scientists at the University of Oxford studied blood samples from more than 44,000 people in the UK Biobank, including more than 4,900 people who were subsequently diagnosed with cancer.

The researchers compared proteins from people who developed cancer with those who did not, identifying 618 proteins linked to 19 types of cancer.. These types include colon, lung, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and liver cancer. The study, funded by Cancer Research UK and published in Nature Communications, also found 107 proteins associated with cancers diagnosed more than seven years after the blood sample was collected and 182 proteins strongly associated with a cancer diagnosis within three years. following.

Proteins in the blood could warn about cancer more than seven years in advance

The study authors concluded that some of these proteins could be used to detect cancer much earlier and potentially offer new treatment options, although more research is needed.. Dr Keren Papier, senior nutritional epidemiologist at Oxford Population Health at the University of Oxford and co-lead author of the study, said: “To save more lives from cancer, we need to better understand what happens in the earliest stages of the disease and how Proteins in our blood can affect our risk of cancer. “We now need to study these proteins in depth to see which ones could be reliably used for prevention.”

A second related study, which analyzed genetic data from more than 300,000 cancer cases, found 40 proteins in the blood that influenced the risk of developing nine types of cancer. Altering these proteins could increase or decrease the chances of developing cancer, although in some cases this could lead to unwanted side effects, the authors found.

Mark Lawler, chair of translational cancer genomics and professor of digital health at Queen's University Belfast, said: “The data is impressive. Finding evidence of cancer before it manifests clinically provides a critical window of opportunity to treat with a greater chance of success or, even more importantly, to achieve the holy grail of preventing cancer before it can even occur. “There is a lot more to do, but it is an important step in a disease that affects one in two UK citizens in their lifetime.”

Lawrence Young, professor of molecular oncology at the University of Warwick, said the findings are another step towards identifying markers of increased cancer risk, as well as those that help in early cancer diagnosis..

These studies represent a significant advance in the early detection of cancer and the possibility of new treatment options. The discovery of proteins linked to different types of cancer could radically change how the disease is diagnosed and treated, providing hope to millions of people around the world.

Importance of early detection and the future of research

Detecting cancer in its early stages can be crucial to improving survival rates. With the identification of these 618 proteins, scientists have a new tool to study and potentially diagnose cancer before symptoms become evident.. This would not only allow treatments to begin earlier, but also develop more effective prevention strategies.

Research around these proteins also opens the door to a better understanding of how cancer develops and progresses. By analyzing proteins associated with different types of cancer, scientists can identify patterns and mechanisms that could be targets for new treatments.. This could lead to more personalized and precise therapies, tailored to the specific needs of each patient.

Furthermore, the study highlights the importance of biobanks and large genetic databases. These resources allow researchers to access a vast amount of information, facilitating discoveries that would not be possible with smaller samples.. International collaboration and access to global data will be crucial to advancing the fight against cancer.

The scientific community continues to work tirelessly to transform these findings into clinical applications. Although there is a long way to go, the progress made so far is promising and offers a hopeful vision for the future of oncology medicine.. The combination of early detection, prevention and innovative treatments could revolutionize cancer management in the coming years.

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