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Irish scientist to find out whether calcium deposits cause breast tumours

RCSI’s Dr Maria Morgan has been given €126,000 to conduct research over the next three years.

Image: doctor image via Shutterstock

A SCIENTIST IN Dublin has been awarded more than €126,000 by Breast Cancer Campaign to investigate whether calcium deposits in the breast encourage the growth of breast tumours.

The funding has been given Dr Maria Morgan at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RSCI). ‘Microcalcifications’ are calcium deposits that show up on a mammogram as white flecks, and can help identify early breast tumours. It is not clear how or why they form and it has previously been thought that they had no significant role.

However Morgan said she believse that these deposits may actually play an active role in breast cancer. By causing inflammation, they could be encouraging cancer cells to grow into a tumour.

There are almost 2,800 new cases of breast cancer in Ireland each year and it is the most common cancer in Irish women.

Almost 700 women on average die of breast cancer every year.

“The grant I have received from Breast Cancer Campaign will enable me to study these calcium deposits in detail and find out if they encourage tumours to grow in the breast, which could ultimately lead to new ways of diagnosis,” commented Morgan.

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During her three year project, she will study calcium deposits produced by different cancer cells as well as non-cancerous cells. She will also identify the different calcium-containing compounds produced by breast cancer and investigate if there is a link between the different compounds and the aggressiveness of the cancer cells.

Katherine Woods of Breast Cancer Campaign said the research will being us one step closer to identifying what causes different tumours to grow and progress and enable doctors to select the best treatment for every patient.

Read: Study finds link between high cholesterol and breast cancer>

Read: Eating too much red meat could increase your risk of breast cancer>

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