Edith Cowan University (ECU) researchers have developed the world’s first blood test capable of detecting melanoma in its early stages, a breakthrough that will save thousands of lives, as well as millions of dollars for the health system.
In a trial involving 105 people with melanoma and 104 healthy controls, the blood test was able to detect early stage melanoma in 79 per cent of cases.
Australia has the second highest rate of melanoma in the world, with 14,000 new diagnoses and almost 2000 deaths each year.
Lead researcher PhD candidate Pauline Zaenker said identifying melanoma early was the best way to preventing these deaths.
“Patients who have their melanoma detected in its early stage have a five year survival rate between 90 and 99 per cent, whereas if it is not caught early and it spreads around the body, the five year survival rate drops to less than 50 per cent,” she said.
“This is what makes this blood test so exciting as a potential screening tool because it can pick up melanoma in its very early stages when it is still treatable.”
Currently the main way melanoma is detected is by a visual scan by a clinician with any areas of skin that are of concern excised and sent for a biopsy.
Ms Zaenker, from ECU’s Melanoma Research Group (MRG), said the new blood test could provide doctors with a powerful new tool to detect melanoma before it spreads throughout the body.
“While clinicians do a fantastic job with the tools available, relying on biopsies alone can be problematic. We know that three out of four biopsies come back negative for melanoma,” she said.
“The biopsies are quite invasive, with a minimum of 1cm by 1cm of skin excised from the patient.
“They are also costly, with previous research showing that the Australian health system spends $201 million on melanoma each year with an additional $73 million on negative biopsies.”
Antibodies provide early warning
The blood test works by detecting the autoantibodies the body produces in response to the melanoma.
“The body starts producing these antibodies as soon as melanoma first develops which is how we have been able to detect the cancer in its very early stages with this blood test. No other type of biomarker appears to be capable of detecting the cancer in blood at these early stages.” Ms Zaenker said.
“We examined a total of 1627 different types of antibodies to identify a combination of 10 antibodies that best indicated the presence of melanoma in confirmed patients relative to healthy volunteers.”
MelanomaWA Chief Executive Officer Clinton Heal knows first-hand the importance of developing new ways to detect skin cancer – he has had 34 secondary tumours removed since he was diagnosed with melanoma at the age of 22.
“At MelanomaWA we see first-hand the importance of early detection and how it’s critical to the long term survival of people diagnosed with melanoma,” he said.
“I am personally so excited to see this research transcending into clinical practice, having given of my own blood samples to the Melanoma Research Group following my diagnosis in 2005.
“My primary melanoma was not detected early, and I believe a simple blood test could have drastically improved my melanoma diagnosis and subsequent treatment since.”
MRG head Professor Mel Ziman said a follow up clinical trial to validate the findings was being organised.
“We envision this taking about three years. If this is successful we would hope to be able to have a test ready for use in pathology clinics shortly afterwards,” she said.
“The ultimate goal is for this blood test to be used to provide greater diagnostic certainty prior to biopsy and for routine screening of people who are at a higher risk of melanoma, such as those with a large number of moles or those with pale skin or a family history of the disease.”
The blood test (MelDx) has been submitted for an international patent.
[osd_subscribe categories=’melanoma’ placeholder=’Email Address’ button_text=’Subscribe Now for any new posts on the topic “MELANOMA’]
Receive an email update when we add a new MELANOMA article.
The Latest on: Melanoma
[google_news title=”” keyword=”melanoma” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Melanoma
- New cell-based immunotherapy offered for melanomaon February 24, 2024 at 7:40 am
Siteman Cancer Center, based at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, is one of the first centers nationwide to offer a newly approved cell-based ...
- Cooper offers a world-first test of newly approved melanoma therapy to be made in Phillyon February 23, 2024 at 6:17 am
A South Jersey woman was the first in the world to receive the therapy as her first treatment for advanced melanoma. The therapy eventually will be made in Philadelphia's Navy Yard.
- Immunocore and BMS partner to investigate first-line treatment for melanomaon February 22, 2024 at 11:09 am
Immunocore has signed a clinical trial collaboration and supply agreement with Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) to develop its drug IMC-F106C as a combination treatment for cutaneous melanoma. IMC-F106C, a ...
- Weeks of TIL Therapy ‘Buys Years’ to Next Melanoma Treatment, Expert Sayson February 21, 2024 at 4:00 pm
Treatment with Amtagvi, a TIL therapy recently approved for advanced melanoma, includes a three-week hospital stay upfront, but may lead to years of monitoring without more treatment needed, an expert ...
- Melanoma Signs: Subtle Symptoms Of This Skin Cancer That Can Help In Diagnosison February 21, 2024 at 1:31 am
Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that begins in the melanocytes which are cells that produce melanin that give skin its colour. This is one of the most advanced forms of skin cancer and it can turn ...
- One-Time Cell Therapy Amtagvi Gets Accelerated Approval for Advanced Melanomaon February 20, 2024 at 4:00 pm
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted accelerated approval to Amtagvi™ (lifileucel) for the treatment of adults with unresectable or metastatic melanoma previously treated with a PD-1 ...
- Sarah Ferguson urges fans to 'be diligent' amid 2nd cancer diagnosis. What to know about breast cancer and melanomaon February 20, 2024 at 11:59 am
Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, is urging people to be "diligent" with their health check-ups as she opens up about her second cancer diagnosis. The British author, 64, took to Instagram to mark ...
- Innovative immunotherapy targets rare melanoma subtypeson February 18, 2024 at 7:06 pm
Scientists at the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center have built and demonstrated the potential efficacy of a new chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell-based immunotherapy specifically ...
- FDA approves first cell therapy to treat aggressive forms of melanomaon February 17, 2024 at 9:14 am
Amtagvi is intended to help patients with melanoma that cannot be removed with surgery or has spread to other parts of the body.
via Bing News