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Researchers have developed a new H. pylori test based on the response of an individual's immune system that could lead to more accurate predictions of a patient's risk for developing stomach cancer.
H. pylori is a type of bacteria that lives in the stomach of many individuals. Most of the time an infection with this bacteria is harmless, but it can become virulent and lead to stomach cancer.
However, researchers from the University of Gothenburg in Sweden have found that certain immune system cells become activated when this happens, which may help diagnose conditions that could lead to stomach cancer earlier while it is more treatable.
"We don't know how the chronic inflammation caused by Helicobacter pylori affects the development of stomach cancer," says Asa Lindgren, a researcher from the school's Department of Microbiology and Immunology. "So it was interesting to study how the immune system behaves towards [this bacterium] in the stomach."
Stomach cancer presents a variety of symptoms and can be difficult to diagnose. Often it is not discovered until the disease has progressed to a terminal state.
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