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World’s First Melanoma Blood Test Developed By Australian Reasearchers

20 July 2018

Melanoma accounts for the most skin cancer-related deaths, according to the World Health Organization, and is one of the most common cancers for young people.

The researchers from Edith Cowan University said the blood test could help doctors detect the skin cancer at early stages when it is more easily treatable. Right now, melanoma is usually diagnosed through a biopsy of a mole or suspicious skin lesion-a procedure that can be expensive and potentially painful.

"Despite advances in diagnostic methods, screening large populations for melanoma remains inefficient due to the time required to screen each individual and due to a plethora of other limitations clinicians face in the current diagnosis of this cancer", the researchers wrote.

The test, created by the researchers at the Edith Cowan University, can detect skin cancer in its early stages before the tumors spread throughout the body.

"If it is not caught early and spreads around the body, the five-year survival rate drops to less than 50 per cent", she said.

Because it can be hard to spot, considering some people have hundreds of moles, a blood test that can detect it sooner could be the difference between life and death. The scientists were able to detect antibodies produced by the body in response to melanoma, and to determine the presence of cancer cells.

They also said that the blood test could provide more accurate results than the human eye and save many lives.

'While clinicians do a fantastic job with the tools available, relying on biopsies alone can be problematic.

In a trial of 105 people with melanoma, the test successfully picked up 79 percent of cases.

The next step, the researchers said, will be to take MelDX to clinical trial, which is now being organised, and which could help refine the test.

For potential sufferers in remote areas, away from skin specialists, diagnosis can be especially tricky, he said, making a simple blood test an easy alternative to identify those at risk. She said that the team examined 1627 different types of antibodies before they found that there was a combination of 10 antibodies that could predict that a person had the melanoma when compared to healthy persons. She added that there are no other biomarkers that can detect the cancer this early in the cancer.

World’s First Melanoma Blood Test Developed By Australian Reasearchers