It may come as no surprise that this year, 40,000 women in the United States will lose their lives to breast cancer.
This statistic highlights the need for women to perform self-examinations or have an annual mammogram, depending on their age.
While most know the value of these procedures, what women may not know is that by the time breast cancer is detected through modern testing, the disease may have been present for six to 10 years – one to five years past an almost 100 percent survival rate, according to the American Cancer Society.
However, a new technology based on proteomics (the study and analysis of proteins) may be able to show, years prior to mammography, whether a patient has an early indication for breast cancer and if she requires more testing or treatment.
While most people know that DNA is the blueprint of the cell, the cell itself is made up of many proteins. Consequently, DNA tests can find risk of disease, but it is in the proteins where a disease like breast cancer actually starts. Thus, proteins that change in the course of a disease are the building blocks for new screening and diagnostic tests that can provide earlier detection and enhanced treatment.
To this end, Power3 Medical Products (OTC BB: ) and the University of Texas’ M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston have developed the NAF (nipple aspirate fluid) Test. The noninvasive test uses fluid from the breast called nipple aspirates to identify groups of breast cancer proteins, which in turn are analyzed in order to detect the presence of breast cancer earlier than current technologies.
“These identified protein biomarkers and mechanisms not only provide early indications of breast cancer, but also reveal a mechanism for how the early breast cancer is developing,” said Ira Goldknopf, chief scientific officer of Power3 Medical.
The collection of the fluid, obtained from the regions of the breast where most breast cancers originate, is done by using a breast pump to obtain a drop of fluid from the nipple. The aspirate is then analyzed to identify the specific breast cancer protein footprint. The characterization of the specific protein profile can indicate if a woman has a normal proteomic pattern or one suggestive of cancer.
“This technology holds great promise since it provides a mechanism to achieve earlier and more accurate indications of breast cancer as well as to identify specific drug targets for earlier treatment of cancer,” Goldknopf said.