Predict - for early detection of cancer

Within the framework of the new national strategy for Life Science, RCC Norr, Umeå University (UmU) and Region Västerbotten have started a development project on biomarkers - substances in the blood that can be identified early in patients with cancer.

The Predict project investigates how these markers work in a healthy population or when a specific cancer diagnosis is suspected.

By finding the biomarkers in the blood, cancer can also be detected at an earlier stage, which increases the patient's chance of surviving the disease.

In Västerbotten, there are unique opportunities to examine samples from healthy people, through the health examinations that all people in Västerbotten are invited to attend at the ages of 40, 50 and 60. Those who are examined are asked if they want to provide a blood sample for research purposes.

Biobanken norr has around 140 000 blood samples from unique individuals. Many have also provided more than one sample. RCC Norr's statisticians regularly collate these blood samples with the Cancer Registry at the National Board of Health and Welfare, in order to find out which individuals have developed cancer and to analyse why certain people develop the disease.

There are many biomarkers for cancer that are already known to the researchers, and a selection will be analysed in the development project.

Some cancers grow slowly, with no obvious symptoms. The idea is that in the future it would be possible to add a blood test, for example during a mammogram or a health check, to analyse whether the known cancer biomarkers are present in the blood.

Beatrice Melin, Professor of Oncology leads the Predict project.