Specific cells found in breast milk will predict the probability of developing breast cancer.
It is probable that once breast milk will cease to be the sole source of nutrition for newborn babies. It is possible that it will help determine the risk of developing a breastfeeding mother one of the most dangerous diseases for a woman: breast cancer.
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The study, currently conducted by researchers at the University of Mass. US (USA), addresses such complex issues of cancer research as the features of methylation of DNA molecules. This is one of the processes that underlies the expression of genes, that is, the implementation of genetic information embedded in them. In earlier studies, it has already been proven that in cancerous tumors, DNA methylation is significantly disturbed. In addition, it is especially important that breakdowns of these biochemical mechanisms may occur many years before the very cancer itself.
However, in previous studies, the study of methylation in breast cancer was limited to a significant invasive production of cells for analysis. They were extracted from the tumor or healthy tissues by inserting a needle or catheter into the nipple.
In a new study of scientists interested in the question of whether it is possible to receive useful information in less traumatic ways. To this end, they studied breast milk samples from 250 women who were breast feeding, and the risk of developing breast cancer was high. All of the fair sex members expressed their willingness to participate in the Avon sponsored research.
Milk samples were taken from both breasts, where it was within 24 hours of analysis. Scientists were interested in the content of cells in milk, from which further development of malignant tumors may develop. These are epithelial cells from which researchers have isolated the DNA for further study.
First of all, they were looking for three of the 30 possible genes, the methylation of which is significantly disturbed by breast cancer. It turned out that 13 women had breast cancer confirmed during a biopsy with a subsequent histological examination. And precisely these women in the cells derived from breast milk have been particularly strongly disturbed by the methylation of these particular genes.
The head of the work, Dr. Kathleen F. Arcaro, considers the findings to be very significant. Despite the relatively small number of women who participated in the study, when transferring its results to the female population as a whole, the new method shows a significant diagnostic value. Especially this study is important for young mothers, early detection of breast cancer in which they will help them to save their lives and normalize the baby. The work continues, and scientists plan to study another 9 genes associated with a violation of methylation in breast cancer.