Biomarker Research Gives New Hope In Diagnosing Mesothelioma

For patients and their doctors who are dealing with mesothelioma, new hope has emerged from recently completed studies. Scientists have studied “biomarkers” for several years, as they are a group of proteins that often imply certain cancers may be present. Cholesterol and glucose are individual biomarkers, and most current testing tracks the concentration of these markers. Groups of biomarkers, however, may be tracked by new tests that would aid in the early diagnosis of dangerous cancers, such as mesothelioma. After the initial exposure to asbestos, patients afflicted with malignant pleural mesothelioma may not present symptoms for several years, or even decades. Doctors often find it difficult to properly diagnose the disease even after symptoms appear because they resemble symptoms of other respiratory diseases, from emphysema to influenza. However, the prognosis of a patient is usually not good after receiving a diagnosis of mesothelioma. Unfortunately, one to two years is the typical lifespan of a patient after diagnosis. A recent study, however, has determined that a set of biomarker tests may be able to lead to early diagnosis of this serious disease. Nevertheless, the researcher who directed this study stated that one individual marker could not give doctors the data they need to diagnose mesothelioma. Patients in this study who suffered from mesothelioma were tested for several proteins and a group was found that would aid in a faster and more accurate diagnosis. However, a prominent doctor working on this research warns that the study is in the early phases and reliable tests will not be developed and manufactured for several years. That doctor also mentioned that research on biomarkers themselves is still in its preliminary phases as well. Nevertheless, this doctor explained the markers give the doctors a window to the internal workings of a patient’s body, which aids in making early diagnoses. Another researcher on the study of biomarkers explained that using multiple biomarkers in determining cancer’s presence has become increasingly possible in the last several years. This researcher also asserted that while information received from biomarkers is important, the tests should complement other tests and regular exams and not become a replacement. Biomarker tests, the researcher explained, are just one tool in a developing line of diagnostic medical procedures to detect and fight cancer. Previous: Zadroga 9/11 Health Bill Revived Next: Italian Drugmaker Making Great Strides On Mesothelioma Treatment