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The idea that breast cancer risk could be determined through DNA tests is not necessarily a new one, but studies focusing on this concept have been more or less inconclusive. But a recent analysis conducted at the University College London has shown that this type of test could potentially become a new way of determining predisposition towards cancer.
Breast cancer has become an increasing threat to women worldwide, not only in the US. Even if scientific parties are still in contradiction with one another regarding what exactly triggers cancer, the fact that the patient’s body undergoes certain changes when the disease actually appears still remains true.
Said study was based on the analysis of 600 breast tissue samples from both healthy women and ones which have been diagnosed with breast cancer. In regards to the latter group, DNA tests showed that 30% of specific genes undergo certain alterations when cancer actually develops in the patient’s system.
True, this study is still somewhat inconclusive as the ones before it when focusing on exact tell-tale hints of cancer risk. But scientists were able to identify specific reprogramming cells that switch from normal behavior to cancerous. By conducting further analysis on the matter, the research team could potentially identify the exact triggers of cancer, stemming from genetic inheritance to factors related to menopause entry.
The importance of this study is based on the fact that epigenetic alterations are completely reversible through immediate treatment and gene therapy. Once higher risk cells are identified, therapies could potentially force them to go back to normal, effectively circumventing breast cancer. But this idea is not limited to this type of cancer if further inquiries show that every cancer type, be it prostate or others, alters the genetic make-up of the patient before it actually starts appearing in higher numbers.
The current move towards gene therapy through genetic alteration has gained an increase in popularity among medical parties worldwide. Several cures for various diseases are currently being developed at several pharmaceutical companies across the globe. If breast cancer risk is proven to stem from epigenetic modifications, this will undergo thorough analysis with the hopes of finding a potential cure or prevention method as well.
But the concept that breast cancer risk could be determined through DNA tests still needs more work to be done in order to prove its conclusiveness. Only time will tell if research teams will be able to isolate the specific genes that can cause a normal healthy woman to have an increase in risk towards cancer development.