Wednesday November 20, 2019

Research Finds that a Simple Blood Test Can Warn About Breast Cancer 5 Years Earlier

In a pilot study, the researchers took blood samples from 90 breast cancer patients at the time they were diagnosed with breast cancer

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Blood Test
In a pilot study, the researchers took Blood Test of 90 breast cancer patients at the time they were diagnosed with breast cancer and matched them with samples taken from 90 patients without breast cancer. Pixabay

Researchers have found that a simple blood test can detect breast cancer up to five years before there are any clinical signs of it.

The blood test identifies the body’s immune response to substances produced by tumour cells, according to the research presented at the 2019 NCRI (National Cancer Research Institute) Cancer Conference in Glasgow, UK, on Sunday.

“We need to develop and further validate this test,” said Daniyah Alfattani from University of Nottingham in Britain.

“However, these results are encouraging and indicate that it’s possible to detect a signal for early breast cancer. Once we have improved the accuracy of the test, then it opens the possibility of using a simple blood test to improve early detection of the disease,” she said.

Cancer cells produce proteins called antigens that trigger the body to make antibodies against them — auto-antibodies.

The researchers have found that these tumour-associated antigens (TAAs) are good indicators of cancer, and now they have developed panels of tumour-associated antigens that are known already to be associated with breast cancer to detect whether or not there are auto-antibodies against them in blood samples taken from patients.

In a pilot study, the researchers took blood samples from 90 breast cancer patients at the time they were diagnosed with breast cancer and matched them with samples taken from 90 patients without breast cancer (the control group).

Blood Test
Researchers have found that a simple Blood Test can detect Breast Cancer up to five years before there are any clinical signs of it. Pixabay

They used screening technology (protein microarray) that allowed them to screen the blood samples rapidly for the presence of auto-antibodies against 40 tumour-associated antigens associated with breast cancer, and also 27 tumour-associated antigens that were not known to be linked with the disease.

“The results of our study showed that breast cancer does induce autoantibodies against panels of specific tumour-associated antigens. We were able to detect cancer with reasonable accuracy by identifying these auto-antibodies in the blood,” Alfattani said while presenting the research.

The researchers identified three panels of tumour-associated antigens against which to test for autoantibodies. The accuracy of the test improved in the panels that contained more tumour-associated antigens.

The panel of five tumour-associated antigens correctly detected breast cancer in 29 per cent of the samples from the cancer patients and correctly identified 84 per cent of the control samples as being cancer-free.

Blood Test
The researchers are now Checking Blood Test Samples from 800 patients against a panel of nine tumour-associated antigens, and they expect the accuracy of the test to improve with these larger numbers. Pixabay

The panel of seven tumour-associated antigens correctly identified cancer in 35 per cent of cancer samples and no cancer in 79 per cent of control samples. The panel of nine antigens correctly identified cancer in 37 per cent of cancer samples and no cancer in 79 per cent of the controls.

The researchers are now testing samples from 800 patients against a panel of nine tumour-associated antigens, and they expect the accuracy of the test to improve with these larger numbers.

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“A blood test for early breast cancer detection would be cost effective, which would be of particular value in low and middle income countries. It would also be an easier screening method to implement compared to current methods, such as mammography,” said Alfattani. (IANS)

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Soups Can Help You Fight Malaria: Study

Consuming home-made soups can save you from malaria, suggests a new study

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Soups fight malaria
Consuming soups can save you from malaria. Pixabay

“Malaria kills more than 400,000 people per year and infects more than 200 million, yet resistance to our frontline drugs continues to emerge,” said study lead researcher Jake Baum, Professor at Imperial College London, in UK.

“We may have to look beyond the chemistry shelf for new drugs, and natural remedies shouldn’t be off our watch list,” Baum added.

For the study, published in the journal Archives of Disease in Childhood, researchers from Imperial College London with school children test their family soup broths for activity against the malaria parasite.

Several of the soup broths, collected from traditional family recipes that originated around the world, showed activity against the malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum, either by curbing its growth or preventing it from maturing.

The soup recipes had been passed down through the generations for the treatment of fever.

Five of the broths were able to curb growth of the parasite in its disease-causing stage by more than 50 percent.

In two of these, the inhibitory activity was comparable with that of a leading anti-malarial drug, dihydroartemisinin.

Four other broths were more than 50 percent effective at blocking the ability of the parasites to mature to a form that infects mosquitoes, potentially blocking the process of transmission.

Malaria
Prevent malaria with healthy soups. Pixabay

Dihydroarteminisin contains artemisinin, which was isolated from a traditional Chinese herbal medicine.

According to the researchers, the study was carried out by students at Eden Primary School in North London.

The pupils brought in samples of homemade clear soup broths from family recipes from across Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

Filtered extracts of the broths were then tested against two stages of the parasite: when it can infect mosquitoes, and when it can cause the disease in humans.

The recipes for each of the broths varied.

They were vegetarian, chicken, or beef based, with no particular ingredient common to those with the strongest anti-malarial activity.

The active ingredients in the broths studied are yet to be identified and tested, the study said.

To move forwards, the active ingredients would need to be isolated, before tests of toxicology and effectiveness, first in human cells and later preclinical trials.

Also Read- Here’s Why Too Much Ultra-Processed Food Can Deteriorate your Heart Health

The researchers behind the study hope that they may discover new anti-malarial compounds in a similar way from the work looking at soup.

“It’s really interesting to find potential routes for future drug development in something like your grandmother’s soup,” Baum added. (IANS)