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Current Research: A Blood Test to Detect Breast Cancer

vials-of-bloodWe are nearing the end of another month, however, I don’t want to miss the opportunity to make a plug for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM).  The purpose of this post is to highlight some emerging research that may be a game changer in the area of breast cancer detection and could save countless lives in the future.

Ever wonder how NBCAM came into being? According to Wikipedia, NBCAM was founded in 1985 in October as a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the pharmaceutical division of Imperial Chemical Industries (now a division of AstraZeneca). The initial goal of NBCAM was to promote mammography as the most effective weapon in the fight against breast cancer.

Thirty years later, NBCAM has grown into an annual international health campaign organized by breast cancer charities to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research and offer information and support to those affected by the disease.

Now, about that evolving blood test for breast cancer! A partnership between Australian and French scientist is reporting that they are very close to making a blood test for breast cancer a possibility. [Refs 1&2]  “A blood test for breast cancer is several years away from being used in hospitals, but we we have discovered a new way of detecting breast cancer in the first instance as well as ongoing monitoring,” according to the study’s lead researcher Professor Guillaume Tcherkez.

The research team at Australian National University (ANU) partnered with French scientists to analyze biopsy samples from healthy people and cancer patients in Western France. Scientists also looked at cultures to see different lines of cancer cells.

“Our research shows the presence of isotopes carbon-13 and nitrogen-15 in certain proportions in a tissue sample can reveal whether the tissue is healthy or cancerous,” states co-researcher Dr. Illa Tea.

This is good news because if cancer can be detected utilizing this approach with a blood test, it can also be monitored. A test that is possibly cheaper, less invasive, and quicker to analyze than other procedures like biopsies and the uncomfortable procedure of mammograms would send shouts of joy to far parts of the galaxy.

The proposed new test has so much potential! The diagnosis of breast cancer for a man or woman doesn’t stop with him or her. The impact reaches much further to family members, co-workers, friends, customers, caregivers, and just about everyone that this person comes into contact with.

Expect to hear more about this emerging breast cancer test and diagnostic tool in the near future.

References:

  1. 13C And 15N Natural Isotope Abundance Reflects Breast Cancer Cell Metabolism, Tea I, Martineau E, Antheaume I, Lalande J, Mauve C, Tcherkez G, et al. in Scientific Reports.
  2. Can Breast Cancer Be Detected With A Simple Blood Test? Scientists Seek New Ways To Find, Monitor The Disease, by Kelsey Drain in Medical Daily, September 30, 2016, http://www.medicaldaily.com/can-breast-cancer-be-detected-simple-blood-test-scientists-seek-new-ways-find-399618
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About Vi Brown

Vi is principal and CEO of Prophecy Consulting Group, LLC, an Arizona firm that provides business and engineering services to private and public clients. Prior to establishing her consulting practice in 2001, Vi worked with Motorola, Maricopa County Government, Pacific Gas & Electric, CH2M Hill, and Procter & Gamble. As an adjunct faculty member, Vi teaches undergraduate calculus classes and graduate level environmental courses. She is also a professional speaker.

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