Cancer research making strides with new protein discoveries

Scientists at the University of Oxford have discovered proteins in the blood that could warn people of cancer more than seven years earlier than currently possible.

Cancer research is witnessing several significant advancements. A research group has discovered that proteins may be involved in the very early stages of cancer when the disease might still be preventable.

In two studies, the researchers identified 618 proteins linked to 19 different types of cancer, including 107 proteins in a group of individuals whose blood had been collected at least seven years before diagnosis.

The team believes that this breakthrough could not only help treat the disease at an early stage but potentially prevent it entirely.

The study

The researchers employed a powerful technique called proteomics, which allows them to analyze a broad array of proteins in tissue samples at once, to see how they interact with each other and to find any differences in proteins between different tissue samples.

In the first study, scientists analyzed blood samples taken from over 44,000 British citizens, including more than 4,900 individuals who were later diagnosed with cancer.

Using proteomics, the researchers examined a set of 1,463 proteins from a single blood sample from each person. They compared the proteins of individuals who were diagnosed with cancer and those who were not, to look for differences between them and to discover which were linked to the risk of disease.

The researchers also identified 182 proteins that differed in the blood three years before a cancer diagnosis was made.

In the second study, the team examined the genetic data of over 300,000 cancer cases to delve deeper into which blood proteins were involved in the development of cancer and could be targeted by new treatments.

While alterations in proteins can increase or decrease the chances of someone developing cancer, the researchers also discovered which proteins could lead to “unwanted side effects.”

However, the team, whose findings were published in the journal Nature Communications, emphasized that further research is needed to uncover the exact role that proteins play in the development of cancer. They must also determine which proteins are the most reliable to test, what tests could be developed to detect these proteins, and what drugs could target them.

To save more lives from cancer, we must understand better what happens in the early stages of the disease. We need to study these proteins in depth to see which could be reliably used for prevention.

These studies are important because they provide new clues about the causes and biology of multiple tumors, including information on what happens years before cancer is diagnosed.

Source: Nature

The article draws upon studies published and recommendations from international institutions and/or experts. We do not make claims in the medical-scientific field and report the facts as they are. Sources are indicated at the end of each article.
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