On the agenda: Genetic markers for cancer found

Scientists have used a simple blood test to discover a series of genetic variations that can increase an individual's risk of getting prostate, breast or ovarian cancer.

 Found: Genetic markers for cancers (Credit: LRI EM Unit)
Found: Genetic markers for cancers (Credit: LRI EM Unit)

In more detail

More than 1,000 scientists from over 100 institutions collaborated on an EU-wide project that used a relatively cheap blood test to identify a series of genetic markers that increase the likelihood of getting cancer. The project compared the DNA of 100,000 people with cancer and 100,000 without it.

It spawned 13 different scientific papers, many of which were published in the science journal Nature.

PR strategy

Cancer Research UK held a media briefing in which a panel of the lead researchers discussed their findings and their implications. It also issued an overarching press release covering the entire study while other partners, such as Breakthrough Breast Cancer, issued their own releases about specific parts of the research. 

Media coverage

Sky News staged a live report from one of the research laboratories while both it and the BBC ran pre-recorded interviews. The Times and The Guardian put the story on their front pages, with The Times featuring a case study sourced by Cancer Research’s press office and patient liaison team. In addition, The Guardian’s website hosted a live Q&A with one of the researchers on prostate cancer. 

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