The National Cancer Institute defines proteomics as “a large-scale comprehensive study of a particular proteome, including information on protein abundances, their variations and modifications, along with their interacting partners and networks, in order to understand cellular processes.” A proteome is a complement of proteins that is produced by a cell or some other kind of organism.
The reason proteomics is considered exciting by medical researchers is that the science can be used for the early detection of various cancers. The principle is that the earlier a cancer is detected, the more likely it can be brought into remission. Often cancers are detected too late to guarantee effective treatment.
When cancer starts to develop in a human body, it creates tell-tale proteins in tissue and in the blood stream. In theory, tests can be developed that detect these proteins that will not just ascertain the presence of cancer but will identify which type it is, long before a tumor or typical symptoms manifest. An oncologist can then immediately start treatment that will inhibit and even stop the growth of cancer before it presents a danger to health and life.
Research into the relationship between proteomes and cancer has been ongoing for the past ten years or so. The research is also garnering insights into the biological process of cancer development. The goal is to create techniques for early cancer detection as well as therapies to deal with cancer treatment at every stage of its early development. Since proteins are also specific for every individual, targeted therapies can be created that will efficiently deal with different cancers.
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