SNPs-2 will build on the results from SNPs 1. We will be analysing 94 gene SNPs instead of just 18, and will analyse as many of the 800 women who have developed breast cancer (from the PROCAS study) within the volunteer group as we can. Of the 800 who have developed breast cancer, 400 provided a saliva sample. This project will involve running SNP analysis on 400 women with cancer compared to 600 women without.
The overall aim of SNPs 2 is to identify SNPs that contribute to breast cancer. This will enable us to further identify those women who are high risk and provide them information about preventative interventions.
We also aim to identify those SNPs that can actually lower someone’s risk of breast cancer. They can then decide how and when they wish to attend the NHS Breast Screening Programme.
This will ultimately result in a smarter screening programme within the NHS which we hope will come to fruition in 5-6 years time.
The Impact of the Study
The implications of this study, if successful, are enormous. It could change the way in which the NHS delivers breast cancer screening. Instead of the whole population having a mammogram every 3 years, we would be able to divide women into risk groups. Each woman, once she knows her personal risk of breast cancer, can make her own personal choice around altering lifestyle, frequency of check-ups, or choosing to take risk-lowering medication. For the population as a whole, this targeted personalised approach to breast cancer risk could allow many more breast cancers to be picked up through screening at a very early stage and lead to a lower death rate from breast cancer by preventing many cancers from starting or from spreading from its early detected stage.