Mesothelioma diagnosis plays a major role in the tragedy of mesothelioma. Because it can take decades for symptoms to emerge, by the time a mesothelioma diagnosis is made, it is often too late to do more than to make a patient as comfortable as possible during the months remaining for him or her to live. In some cases, intensive treatment can prolong life but the rounds of chemotherapy and radiation exact their own toll on the quality of life.
We therefore applaud any successful steps to finding an earlier mesothelioma diagnosis test. One of the key challenges up until now has been that biomarkers in the blood for mesothelioma are similar to biomarkers for many other types of cancers. This has made early blood tests for mesothelioma diagnosis unreliable from a medical standpoint.
Now a team of international researchers report that they have found a new unique way to identify mesothelioma in the bloodstream. The researchers, including scientists from the US, Switzerland, Italy and Chile, say that a surface protein on mesothelioma cells may hold the key to earlier mesothelioma diagnosis.
The team, headed by Ferdinando Cerciello and Bernd Wollscheid of the Institute of Molecular Systems Biology in Zurich, Switzerland, used sophisticated Selected Reaction Monitoring (SRM) technology to identify and test over 50 mesothelioma proteins to find the best one to use in a screening test for earlier mesothelioma diagnosis. After studying the surface proteins of several mesothelioma cell lines for potential biomarkers, the researchers designed a test that would find the most specific mesothelioma protein in a blood sample. This test could potentially eliminate confusion with any other type of cancer cell and make it possible to positively identify mesothelioma earlier in the development of the disease.
The scientists’ report is published in the medical journal Clinical Proteomics. Although the study is preliminary, the results are promising. What’s more, the international team effort and creative application of highly sophisticated laboratory technology and quantitative analysis are exactly the kind of approach needed to make earlier mesothelioma diagnosis possible and save lives.