First blood test for malignant mesothelioma
Researchers from Australia announced the development of world's first blood test for malignant mesothelioma. This test could help early detection of the deadly asbestos-related malignant mesothelioma.
Professor Bruce Robinson from University of Western Australia headed the research team that developed this blood test for mesothelioma. Malignant mesothelioma is an aggressive disease that usually results from exposure to asbestos. There is no cure for malignant mesothelioma especially in the later stages. Mesothelioma affects 700 Australians a year, but early detection and treatment could lead to a breakthrough. Malignant mesotheliomas are very aggressive tumors that arises from the superficial serosal cells the cover the peritoneal, plural, and pericardial cavities. The annual incidence of plural mesothelioma in the United States is estimated to be about 2200 new cases.
"Sometimes it can take a very long time to diagnose this cancer but if you've got a blood test, it can help you diagnose it straight away, then the possibility exists that you could get in and treat earlier," said Robinson of the University of Western Australia.
Bruce Robinson expects the blood test, which measures the amount of protein in the blood, to be publicly available within the next few weeks for use in suspected cases of malignant mesothelioma.
Australia has the world's highest reported incidence of mesothelioma. Symptoms of mesothelioma can take up to 20 to 30 years to develop; so most sufferers are diagnosed at an advanced stage and die within a year.
Current diagnostic tests for malignant mesothelioma include chest X-rays, CT scans, PET scan and other procedures.
"The test is a breakthrough because it's a simple blood test. It could therefore be applied to patients who are at risk, those who have a history of exposure or symptoms of the disease." Dr Nick Pavlakis, a leading mesothelioma researcher in Sydney, told the Australian Associated Press.