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Researchers Develop Simple Cancer Blood Test that May Identify Mesothelioma Faster

When it comes to early detection of malignant mesothelioma, those who have been exposed to asbestos have few good options. The condition, a rare and deadly form of cancer, has an extremely long latency period, which means that it can take decades before its cancerous tumors are large enough to cause symptoms, and by the time it is diagnosed, it is too late for meaningful medical steps to be taken. But now a new test developed by researchers from Stanford University may make early diagnosis possible.

The test is highly sensitive, and able to almost immediately detect the presence of a variety of molecules linked to DNA mutations leading to cancer. According to the report published in The Journal of Molecular Diagnostics it is a single color digital PCR and needs just a few drops of the patient’s blood in order to provide highly reliable feedback.

According to Associate Professor Hanlee P. Ji, M.D. of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University, “For monitoring patient tumors, only a handful of blood tests are available, which are limited to only several types of cancers. Nearly all cancer patients require monitoring by whole body imaging, which can be costly, complex, and time consuming. In contrast, molecular tests like the one we have developed will enable patients to be monitored at every visit, and thus have the potential for quickly tracking cancer growth and spread. Moreover, the test’s rapid turnaround and relatively low cost, especially compared to next generation DNA sequencing, provide a potential opportunity for universal monitoring of more patients than is currently done.”

If you have been exposed to asbestos and are concerned about your risk for malignant mesothelioma, the creation of a readily accessible test for DNA mutations represents great hope. According to lead author Christina Wood Bouwens, “This test is simple enough to set up and analyze without extensive training, and therefore it can be implemented by anyone, making it highly accessible to any laboratory. It has been truly motivating to work with a technology that will help transform the way that we monitor and treat individuals with cancer.” 

For more information on testing for malignant mesothelioma and other resources available to those exposed to asbestos, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today. We can be reached at  1-800-692-8608.

Terri Oppenheimer

Terri Oppenheimer is an independent writer, editor and proofreader. She graduated from the College of William and Mary with a degree in English. Her dreams of a writing career were diverted by a need to pay her bills. She spent a few years providing copy for a major retailer, then landed a lucrative career in advertising sales. With college bills for all three of her kids paid, she left corporate America for a return to her original goal of writing. She specializes in providing content for websites and finds tremendous enjoyment in the things she learns while doing her research. Her specific areas of interest include health and fitness, medical research, and the law.

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