A blood test could be used in the future to diagnose the asbestos-related disease mesothelioma, as reported in Australia’s News NineMSN.
Researchers from Sydney’s Asbestos Diseases Research Institute (ADRI) have found markers in the blood of mesothelioma patients which could pave the way for simple and less invasive tests for the aggressive cancer. Currently, testing for mesothelioma often requires a biopsy of tumor tissue, a time-consuming and invasive surgical process.
Glen Reid, Senior Researcher, said the discovery of higher levels of molecules, called microRNA, in mesothelioma patients’ blood could lead to a simple blood test being developed. The test could possibly bypass invasive and lengthy biopsy procedures and diagnose patients earlier. “This avoids the invasiveness of trying to take a biopsy,” Dr Reid told AAP.
“If you can take a sample of blood and have an accurate marker that tells you if the disease is present or not, that would be a great leap forward for mesothelioma sufferers. It’s still a very devastating and deadly disease, so if we can start the treatment earlier that will give the patient an advantage”, according to Reid.
The researchers found the levels of microRNA in mesothelioma patients’ blood was four times higher than people without the disease. Dr Reid said researchers were currently identifying more mesothelioma patients to test the result’s accuracy in a larger group.