United States: In the newest finding, it is shown that the proteins in the blood can send a signal to people that cancer is already there seven years before it is detected by standard methods. 

How did scientists reach a conclusion? 

Scientists from the University of Oxford researched blood samples of over 44,000 people in the UK Biobank who later on were diagnosed with cancer, and this included more than 4,900 of them, according to the Guardian reports. 

They compared the proteins of those who went on to be diagnosed with cancer and those who didn’t and discovered 618 proteins that were related to 19 kinds of cancer, such as colon, lung, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and liver. 

The research, financed by Cancer Research UK and disseminated in Nature Communications, also discovered 107 proteins that are linked to cancers diagnosed more than seven years after the patient’s blood sample was collected and 182 proteins that were strongly associated with a cancer diagnosis within three years. 

The authors finally ended up saying that some of these proteins might be employed to locate cancer at a very early stage and also offer new treatment methods, however, more research was required, as the Guardian reported. 

According to Dr Keren papier, who is a senior nutritional epidemiologist at Oxford Population Health at the University of Oxford and a joint author of the study, “To save more lives from cancer, we need to better understand what happens at the earliest stages of the disease … [and] how the proteins in our blood can affect our risk of cancer. Now we need to study these proteins in depth to see which ones could be reliably used for prevention.” 

Further insights into the finding 

The author of the research noted that a second associated study, which was conducted using genetic data gathered from more than 300,000 cancer cases, identified 40 proteins in the blood that impacted an individual’s propensity to receive nine types of cancer. 

Blood Proteins Detect Cancer 7 Years Before Diagnosis. Credit | Pixabay
Blood Proteins Detect Cancer 7 Years Before Diagnosis. Credit | Pixabay

The scientists also found that making changes in these proteins might raise or lower the chances of one’s possibility of developing cancer, where, in a few cases, this would also mean some unpredicted side effects. 

According to Mark Lawler, the chair in translational cancer genomics and professor of digital health at Queen’s University Belfast, The data are impressive – finding evidence of cancer before it has manifested itself clinically provides a critical window of opportunity to treat with a greater chance for success, or even more importantly to achieve the holy grail of preventing cancer before it can even occur. More work to be done, but it is an important step forward in a disease that affects one in two UK citizens during their lives.” 

Moreover, Lawrence Young, who was a professor of molecular oncology at the University of Warwick, added that the findings were another step forward toward identifying markers of enhanced risks of developing cancer. 

He added, “Determining protein changes that precede the development of cancer is not only important in identifying high-risk individuals but could also provide insights into factors responsible for causing cancer.”​ 


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