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Blood test designed by DCU scientists predicts response to breast cancer treatment

Scientists at Dublin City University (DCU have developed a blood test capable of discerning which patients will positively respond to breast cancer treatments. This advancement has the potential to enhance treatment decision-making for patients.

Reported in the British Journal of Cancer, this innovative blood test stemmed from a nationwide clinical trial, ICORG10-05, conducted across 11 Irish hospitals under the leadership of oncologist Professor John Crown. The trial focused on early-stage HER2-positive breast cancer, which constitutes 15 to 20 percent of all breast cancer cases and affects approximately 500 Irish women annually. This subtype of breast cancer relies on HER2 for growth, and targeted therapies like Herceptin and Tyverb have been developed to inhibit this growth. The trial evaluated the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs carboplatin and Taxotere in addition to these HER2-targeting therapies.

Throughout the trial, blood samples were collected from patients before and after treatment, which were subsequently sent to Dublin City University (DCU) for processing. Dr. Nicola Gaynor, the Caroline Foundation Research Fellow and a member of Dr. Collins's Cancer Biotherapeutics Research Group, led the analysis of these samples in collaboration with scientists from DCU, UCD, TCD, and RCSI.

The research team's primary objectives included monitoring changes in the activity and composition of anti-cancer immune cells in the blood due to treatment and distinguishing between patients who achieved complete cancer remission post-treatment and those who still had residual cancer.

This newly developed blood test utilizes the patient's white blood cells and the anti-PD-1 drug Keytruda to identify patients who are unlikely to respond positively to therapy.

Read the full article here.

Read DCU's press release here.


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