New Blood Tests help to detect Mesothelioma at an earlier stage
By Warren Miller. 22nd October 2013
Currently mesothelioma is diagnosed using a combination of CT scans and biopsies. There are very few non-invasive tests available to diagnose mesothelioma and most of those are still experimental.
However, recent experiments conducted at SomaLogic - a biotech company, have discovered 13 blood borne proteins that could be used for biomarkers in future blood tests for mesothelioma.
Researchers used blood samples from 90 mesothelioma patients and 80 blood samples from people who did not have mesothelioma but had been exposed to asbestos in the past.
The SomaLogic test picked up the disease with 80% accuracy and accurately detected 15 out of 19 cases of stage 1 or 2 malignant pleural mesothelioma among the samples
The test produced no false positive results.
Rachel Ostroff, who published the results of the experiments for SomaLogic said:
“ By measuring changes in blood concentration of a series of proteins we can potentially catch mesothelioma at an earlier stage. ”
This is very important because the earlier mesothelioma is discovered, the more treatable it is and patients are more likely to respond better to that treatment and live longer, healthier lives when compared to those who aren’t diagnosed with mesothelioma later in the cancer’s life cycle.
The new test may help many mesothelioma patients, but Rachel Ostroff concluded that further testing is needed.
“ Our efforts are now focused on further development of this approach, and how best to get it rapidly into clinical use for the sake of individuals who can benefit from earlier detection of this devastating disease. ”
Using blood tests to help to diagnose mesothelioma also has the advantages of being easily accessible and more accurate. The tests would also be considerable cheaper than biopsies and CT scans. Accurate diagnosis of mesothelioma is very important because the disease is frequently misdiagnosed because the symptoms of mesothelioma can mimic less serious diseases.
Many scientists and consultants remain skeptical of the accuracy of blood testing for mesothelioma. However most admit that no harm can come from these tests and, having a blood test option available, may offer a first-line doagnostic option that more patients and doctor may use.
The worst case is that inconclusive test results would result in more diagnostic investigations to confirm a mesothelioma diagnosis.