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Oxford Cancer Breakthrough

Oxford University scientists have discovered proteins in the blood that could warn people of cancer more than seven years earlier than currently possible - and event prevent it.

Aerial view of Oxford University

The team found that the proteins could be involved at the very earliest stages of cancer. The really promising news is that they believe that their breakthrough could not only help treat the disease at an earlier stage, but even prevent it altogether.

Dr. Iain Foulkes, an executive director at Cancer Research UK, which funded the work said, “Preventing cancer means looking out for the earliest warning signs of the disease. That means intensive, painstaking research to find the molecular signals we should pay closest attention to. Discoveries from this research are the crucial first step towards offering preventative therapies which is the ultimate route for giving people longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer.”

The findings were published in the journal Nature Communications, but the team note that they will need to do further research to find out the exact role the proteins play in cancer development. They also need to work out which of the proteins are the most reliable ones to test for, what tests could be developed to detect the proteins and which drugs could target them.

“To save more lives from cancer, we need to better understand what happens at the earliest stages of the disease,” said Dr. Keren Papier. “Data from thousands of people with cancer has revealed really exciting insights into how the proteins in our blood can affect our risk of cancer,” said Dr. Papier.


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