NOTTINGHAM, United Kingdom — Early detection is very important when it comes to treating breast cancer. The sooner the disease is identified, the greater a patient’s prognosis and chances of recovery. With this in mind, a new, simple blood test currently being developed in the United Kingdom may be a significant game changer in the fight against breast cancer. Researchers believe the test will be capable of detecting breast cancer up to five years before any actual clinical signs or symptoms show themselves.
The test works by identifying the body’s natural immune responses to tumor cell-produced substances. Cancer cells produce harmful proteins in the body called tumor-associated antigens. These antigens in turn trigger the immune system to create antibodies to fight the proteins, called autoantibodies.
Recently, scientists at the University of Nottingham established that these tumor-associated antigens, or (TAAs), can be used as accurate indicators of a developing tumor in its early stages. So, they identified and indexed a group of TAAs that are specifically produced by breast cancer, and designed a blood test that will look to detect these TAAs within samples taken from patients. MORE