Scientists investigate whether a blood test can help to detect breast cancer

A study spearheaded by the University of Leicester aims to find out whether a blood test can detect cancer, earlier than current methods, in women with a strong family history of breast cancer.

(ag/ehj) -Leicestershire cancer research charity Hope Against Cancer is supporting the study with a £90,000 Maria Tilton Research Fellowship based at the University of Leicester.

Dr Jacqui Shaw, of the University Department of Cancer Studies and Molecular Medicine, said: “The ultimate goal of our research is to develop simple blood tests for breast cancer screening and monitoring.  The clear potential value of this research is that earlier detection may lead to improved patient outcomes. In addition, if a blood test can predict progression of the disease this could help doctors to decide on therapy earlier, which could achieve a more successful outcome.

“We have been working on the use of blood screening for detecting and monitoring breast cancer for over 10 years.  For example, our previous results potentially provide a blood marker for patients with HER2 positive breast cancer.  We are very grateful to Tilton family and Hope Against Cancer for giving us the opportunity to take our research forward with this award.”

The Maria Tilton Fellowship is in memory of Maria Tilton, who lost her two year battle against breast cancer at the age of 49. As well as being a wife, mother of two, dentist and friend, Maria was a keen supporter and advocate of Hope Against Cancer.

As testimony to Maria’s commitment to help others affected by breast cancer in the future, the Maria Tilton Fellowship was established.

Maria was a wonderfully bright, positive and courageous person.” said Wendi Stevens, from Hope Against Cancer. “She had said her cure would depend on a medical miracle and that is what Hope is all about.  Although we did not find the answers in time for Maria, her belief and determination in the face of such adversity gave us fresh conviction to continue our efforts to raise funds not only in her memory but also in the memory of the many others affected by this disease.”

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