Scientists today said they had pinpointed four new genes likely to be involved in the development of breast cancer.
Identifying genes involved in the development and progression of breast cancer is key to finding new and better ways to target the disease.
Now new state-of-the-art technology has helped discover four more likely candidate genes, according to the study.
The vast majority of breast cancers are caused by damage to genes which is acquired during a woman's lifetime.
But researchers have so far only pinpointed a few of the possible genes involved - such as the high risk breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2.
A team of Cancer Research UK scientists at Cambridge University used a technique called DNA microarrays to identify the new genes, reports Evening News.
"By using the latest in DNA technology we've been able to pinpoint four new genes likely to be involved in the development of breast cancer," said Professor Carlos Caldas, who headed the research team.
Caldas, who reported his findings in the journal Oncogene, said scientists have been trying to pinpoint the new genes for two decades.
He and his team used DNA microarray technology, which enables scientists to analyze the expression of many genes at the same time, to search for the breast cancer genes.
"Hopefully this cutting edge technology will trigger a parallel increase in the speed at which new cancer treatments reach the patient," Caldas said.
Early results indicate that tumors with multiple copies of the genes are more aggressive.
"If this is confirmed, it might provide a lead for targeted therapies in these cases," Caldas added, informs Reuters.