Malignant mesothelioma is caused by exposure to asbestos dust and fibers. Unfortunately, is a highly lethal disease because most cases of mesotheilioma (or “meso”) are diagnosed at a clinically advanced stage.
One way of improving outcomes for patients with malignant mesothelioma is finding methods of early diagnosis in people at risk of developing because of occupational and other exposure to asbestos. At present, however, the primary methods to diagnose malignant mesothelioma involve expensive imaging tests, and invasive sampling of pleural tissue as well fluid obtained from patients suspected to have mesothelioma.
A recent health news article, “Biomarkers detected mesothelioma after asbestos exposure”, published December 10, 2012 online by HemOnc Today, reports a promising development as regards early diagnosis techniques.
Essentially, this new diagnosis test, or assay, consists of a 13-protein biomarker test that uses Slow Off-rate Modified Aptamers (SOMAmers) to selectively quantify protein biomarkers in serum samples. The researchers established that “the SOMAmer biomarker panel for malignant mesothelioma is high-throughput, accurate and reliable”, according to the HemOnc Today article.
In more detail, from this December 2012 article:
A novel blood-based proteomics assay identified malignant pleural mesothelioma in individuals exposed to asbestos, according to study findings published in PloS One.
“In the next 25 years, it is estimated that the diagnosis of [malignant mesothelioma] will increase 5% to 10% each year until 2020 in most industrialized countries, at a cost of $200 billion in the US and nearly $300 billion worldwide,” Rachel M. Ostroff, PhD, clinical research director at SomaLogic in Boulder, Colo., and colleagues wrote. “The interval between asbestos exposure and the development of [malignant mesothelioma] ranges from 25 to 71 years, yet this disease is often fatal within 1 year of diagnosis. The large gap between asbestos exposure and disease lends itself to surveillance in the high-risk population with the goal of detecting early, treatable disease.”
Be assured that we will continue to watch for additional possibly significant advances as regard the diagnosis of mesothelioma at an earlier stage than has been the case — for the reason that early diagnosis is critical to the successful treatment of mesothelioma.
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