Calretinin Used To Catch Mesothelioma At An Early Stage One of the primary goals of current mesothelioma research is to determine a way in which the cancer can be diagnosed at an earlier stage as opposed to an advanced stage. If the cancer can be caught earlier, there is a good possibility that traditional cancer treatment therapies would be more effective. Recent studies have shown that the presence of calretinin, a protein which binds calcium, may be indicative of the presence of mesothelioma in its early stages. Mesothelioma is a cancer which attacks the mesothelium or lining which surrounds and protects the organs of the abdomen, the heart, and the lungs. The most common form of mesothelioma is found in the pleura of the lungs and in the peritoneum which encases the abdominal organs. The one factor that unites all of these forms of mesothelioma is their cause – exposure to asbestos. Once internalized, asbestos fibers become lodged in the tissue of the mesothelium. These fibers eventually lead to irritation of the tissues and to, potentially, the occurrence of mesothelioma. Because the disease can remain latent from anywhere between two and five decades, diagnosis is often not made until the disease has entered a very advanced stage. Even early symptoms do not often appear until later and they usually consist of difficulty breathing, as well as extreme loss of weight. Calretinin is being used as a way to determine whether the cancer is present at an early stage. Due to the long dormancy of the cancer as well as the few initial symptoms, the prognosis is typically very unfavorable. The scientists obtained 97 volunteers without mesothelioma, 35 individuals who had undergone asbestos exposure and 42 patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma. The researchers studied the individuals for calretinin and found that among the healthy individuals, the rates of the calretinin were significantly lower than in those with mesothelioma. In healthy individuals, the rate was 0.20 ng/ml with those exposed to asbestos having 0.33 ng/ml and individuals with mesothelioma had blood with 0.84 ng/ml calretinin. The study used an assay using enzyme linked immunosorbent to determine the amount of calretinin present in order to diagnose the mesothelioma. If proved useful, the assay would be used to detect calretinin in the blood. The assay is shown to not be affected by the patient’s smoking. Although the calcium marker is accepted, it has not been studied as a plasma and blood component. Additional research is certainly required to determine whether the calretinin test is successful in diagnosing early stages of the disease.