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Blood test to spot breast cancer

2nd October 2012

Researchers are carrying out at trial at a London hospital which they hope could lead to a blood test to be used to identify women who have the early stages of breast cancer. 

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The team, from Leicester University and Imperial College London, are working on a test which looks for specific markers in a woman's DNA.

Dr Jacqui Shaw, the team's lead, said: "This exciting research means we could one day have a blood test that detects the very early signs of cancer, meaning women could have an annual blood test rather than breast screening." 

The trial will take blood from 500 women at Charing Cross Hospital who have had mammograms in which shadows were found.

The team will then draw comparisons between the DNA markers of women who are then found to have breast cancer with the DNA of women who do not have the disease.

Professor Charles Coombes, from Imperial, said: "When a woman has breast cancer we can tell by the DNA in their blood. But what we’re trying to find out in our study is how early the signs of breast cancer show up in a blood test."

Dr Shaw said the test could potentially be available within five years. She added: "I think this approach has the potential to impact significantly on screening in quite a short time."

 

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