New Breast Cancer Blood Tests


When it comes to cancer – namely breast – in the news, rarely a week goes by without a new piece of research coming to light. Whether it’s a radical treatment claiming to eradicate the disease or a new piece of health advice telling us to avoid a certain food, we’re inundated with information about how we’re united in our fight against cancer.

This week was no different, as the USA-based National Human Genome Research Institute identified a gene that ‘switched itself off’ when certain cancers developed. It is thought that the gene – ZNF154 – changes its genetic make-up when breast, bowel, lung, stomach or womb cancer is present in the body. Researchers believe that this change happens when we start to lose our fight with the disease.

The discovery of the gene means that a new blood test could be created to detect early signs of these cancers. Of course, the next step would be clinical trials to identify how viable – and useful – such a test would be, but it’s hoped that this knowledge could be a route to improved cancer diagnosis.

Here at Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention, prediction and prevention are at the core of the work we do. Our four pillars of research – gene research; early detection and screening; preventative drug therapy and diet and lifestyle – share the goal of aiming for a breast cancer-free future.

We’re currently funding a ground-breaking piece of research to revolutionise the breast cancer screening process, whereby a woman’s DNA sample would be analysed to identify her risk of breast cancer. The test would look at gene changes that are connected to breast cancer and would allow us to tailor each woman’s screening programme depending on their individual risk.

We fully support research such as that carried out by the National Human Genome Research Project, as it plays a key role in our own ongoing research strategy. Our hope is that we can develop blood tests for pre-cancer changes as well as blood tests for already established cancers.

We appreciate that prevention is better than cure as it’s a more permanent solution and, while being a longer-term goal, it’s one that allows us to paint a positive picture of the future world; one without breast cancer.

For more information on the work our researchers have done, click here.