German scientists have announced that by utilizing a new diagnostic technology developed by an American company called CytoViva, they may have discovered a new and improved way of diagnosing mesothelioma.
The results of their research were published in the International Journal of Nanomedicine. Their study involved the use of a advanced imaging technique known as hyperspectral imaging.
The team of scientists were testing a new nanotechnology that was originally created to provide NASA with the ability to closely analyze aerial images taken space. By reducing the scale of the images being viewed to a microscopic level, the German team was able to use the same technology to produce images of tissue samples.
These images were extremely high contrast and presented a picture of a unique “fingerprint” of the tissue. These imprints on the tissue were created by nanomaterials that are smaller than 100nm.
With the knowledge that every disease has its own unique profile and leaves its own individual imprint on cells that they impact, the team obtained a number of tissue samples by performing biopsies.
The samples included tissue retrieved from thirty mesothelioma patients, as well as those with other lung conditions. They catalogued the imprint of each individual disease state and then created a virtual library against which the imprints could be compared.
After teaching the system to recognize the different profiles, they then tested to see whether it could quickly identify the disease present in the tissue. The results were extremely encouraging, as the system identified the tissue’s diseases with extreme accuracy over multiple tests.
It is hoped that with continued development and expanded accessibility, the use of this test could serve as a quick and efficient way of diagnosing mesothelioma on site rather than having to send lab work out. Hastening diagnosis of an aggressive illness like mesothelioma can make a dramatic improvement on a patient’s survival rates.
The disease is frequently diagnosed long after it has progressed to an advanced stage because patients do not manifest symptoms until the disease is advanced.
The diagnosis is often complicated by the fact that its symptoms mirror those of other, more common and benign illnesses and physicians often misdiagnose and treat the wrong disease thus delaying the onset of effective treatments.