Researchers from the University of Canterbury are embarking on a study which they hope will help prevent a significant portion of breast cancer.
The research team wants to find the connection between breast cancer and a virus known as cytomegalovirus, which previous studies have linked to the cancer.
"Our new study, building on our earlier findings, will test stored blood samples in a group of women who donated blood samples to a large serum bank in Finland, to find out whether patterns of exposure to cytomegalovirus differ for women with breast cancer compared with women who do not have breast cancer," said health sciences expert Professor Ann Richardson.
"If an infectious cause for breast cancer can be found, it has the potential to lead to prevention of a significant proportion of breast cancer, by immunisation in early childhood."
The Health Research Council of New Zealand has provided $333,000 to fund the project.