The earlier that malignant mesothelioma is detected, the more options physicians have for treatment and the better the patient’s chance for longer survival. But because the disease has such a long latency period early diagnosis has been elusive. That may all change if physicians in Michigan find success in their new study. They are exploring whether volatile organic compounds in the breath of those at risk for malignant mesothelioma will provide an accurate, non-invasive method of screening.
Previous Research Showed Link Between VOCs and Mesothelioma
It has previously been established that volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, present in exhaled breath provide vital information about what is happening within cells, and that has included indicating the presence of mesothelioma. What is unclear is whether that information can be used as a method of diagnosis, and that is what researchers from Ascension Southeast Michigan are exploring.
The researchers are looking for biochemical changes that are spurred by the presence of cancer, and in this study they are targeting the specific VOCs that have previously been displayed in people diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. If their study reveals a specific and positive link it could be a significant discovery for mesothelioma diagnosis, as breath testing is inexpensive, easily accessible, and provides quick results.
Michigan Mesothelioma Study to Include 300 Participants
The researchers from Ascension will be conducting the mesothelioma VOC study through March of 2021, and hope to have their results available a year thereafter. There will be 300 people participating, providing a large enough number for its results to be scientifically meaningful.
Those included have all been diagnosed with either mesothelioma or with pleural plaques, with most having known exposure to asbestos through their work as members of either the Allied Workers Union or the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators, both of which are providing funding in support of the research.
If you or someone you love has a known exposure to asbestos, then concern about mesothelioma is a part of your life. For more information about diagnosis or treatment, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.