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Blood Test Could Enhance Early Mesothelioma Detection
Researchers in Australia may have found evidence that a new blood test could reveal the signs of mesothelioma in patients as early as a decade before any symptoms begin to appear. The results of the researchers’ work were published in the January 22 issue of Clinical Proteomics Journal.
This could be a major development regarding the diagnosis of mesothelioma, which, in most instances, occurs well after the disease has already entrenched itself in the body. Since mesothelioma symptoms often mimic those of upper respiratory illnesses, the disease can be extremely difficult to properly diagnose. Currently, people exposed to asbestos – the only known cause of malignant mesothelioma – have to wait until symptoms appear before they are can seek treatment. However, there is a chance the new blood test could make that a thing of the past.
How the Test Works
The blood test, designed by a Louisiana biotech firm, looks for cell proteins known as ENOX2. These proteins are only produced by mesothelioma and other cancer cells. The article suggests that the proteins could be discovered in the blood serum of people exposed to asbestos long before they develop mesothelioma symptoms. As a result, this could mean doctors can treat the problem earlier and possibly improve patient outcomes.
The earlier the disease is diagnosed, the earlier chemotherapy can begin. There is also a chance that a patient’s tumor could be removed before it has the opportunity to spread. Researchers also believe that by targeting the ENOX2 protein, they may even be able to inhibit the growth of tumors and kill cancerous cells.