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Breast Cancer SignalingA lot of attention is given to breast cancer in the U.S. but did you know, itís the leading worldwide cause of death among women?

Every year more than 450-thousand women die from breast cancer. Fortunately we have an arsenal of treatment options against this disease and a new one may have just been developed.

A group of Canadian researchers doing very basic studies on breast cancer cells found a way to determine whether a patientís breast cancer is likely to be aggressive. The benefit is if doctors know the cancer will have a bad outcome, then aggressive treatment could start immediately.

What the researchers did was look at proteins inside tumor cells and how they interact with each other. Cell proteins are constantly interacting and they transmit signals within and out to other cells in order to regulate cell processes and growth.

What theyíve found is that this biochemical signaling among cancer cell proteins can be different in each woman. And remarkably, the researchers could associate the type of signaling with the outcome of the disease.

They looked at more than 30,000 protein interactions involving about 8000 proteins. Just the scope of this study is incredible. Imagine tracking 30,000 phone calls from 8000 people and making predictions about the callers!

What they found was that about 250 proteins had networking interactions predictive of long term patient survival. So, clinically this means a diagnostic test can be developed to indicate whether a patient exhibits protein signaling associated with a bad outcome.

If so, a physician can immediately start aggressive therapy to treat the cancer. Hereís another example of basic research which on the surface appears esoteric but delivers a powerful new approach to diagnosing disease.

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Systematic interpretation of genetic interactions using protein networks
Highly technical article that discusses protein networks and their role in the expression of different genes.
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Dynamic modularity in protein interaction networks predicts breast cancer outcomes
Original scientific article that details how the study of protein interactions led to the ability to make predictions on breast cancer outcomes and how this may advance medical care in the future.
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All about Breast Cancer
Extensive site by the American Cancer Society with an overview and specific information about breast cancer. Very informative.
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