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New Breast Cancer Test Developed

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DALLAS, Jun 08, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Texas scientists have created a blood test to spot a particularly aggressive form of breast cancer, the Dallas Morning News reported Tuesday.

In a study published in the online issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists said their blood test focuses on a genetic change that occurs in some breast tumors.

In 20 percent to 25 percent of breast cancer patients, a gene called HER-2 is replicated, causing tumor cells to make high levels of a protein that triggers cell multiplication.

Patients with that gene replication have a poor prognosis, and their tumors are often resistant to standard treatments. But a drug called Herceptin can put the cancer into remission for one to two years.

If further studies show the test is effective, it could mean many patients now considered ineligible for certain treatments would be eligible, said Dr. Jonathan Uhr, lead scientist on the research and professor of microbiology and internal medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas.

Copyright 2004 by United Press International.

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