Researchers at the UCSD Moores Cancer Center in La Jolla and the four other UC campuses with medical schools yesterday launched what could become one of the nation’s largest studies on breast cancer.

The Athena Breast Health Network will spend several decades looking at screening and treatment for 150,000 women in California. The coordinators hope to expand their project by enlisting participation from outside medical centers.

They aim to identify factors that lead to development of tumors, unlock new therapies for the disease and generate mountains of data that will take years for cancer experts worldwide to analyze.

“This is an attempt to take advantage of the large scientific, medical and patient resources that the University of California has,” said Dr. Barbara Parker, director of oncology services at the Moores center and the main investigator for the new network at the University of California San Diego.

Breast cancer is probably the largest cancer killer in women in the Western world, with 40,000 women dying from the disease in the US every year.

It’s difficult to see how much impact this study will have, but it could be important if better risk factors or improved diagnosis at an earlier stage occurs. The earlier cancer is detected, the more likely you are to achieve a cure or remission.

Posted via web from sally church’s posterous