NYU Protein Test Shows Promising Results for Early Mesothelioma Detection
On April 4, at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 102nd Meeting 2011, researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center presented the results of a study on a promising new protein test to detect early-stage mesothelioma. The researchers “believe it is the most accurate yet in detecting proteins secreted from tumors caused by exposure to asbestos,” said a report by the AACR.
According to Dr. Harvey Pass, director of Thoracic Surgery and Oncology at NYU Langone Medical Center and the NYU Cancer Institute, the goal of this new test “is to find the cancer early enough to effectively treat it. He added that “the only patients that seem to benefit from therapy in mesothelioma are those that are found in stage 1, and this is only 10 to 15 percent of patients. Moreover, when found early, the magnitude of the operation necessary to reduce the burden of disease may be less, making the patient better able to cope if the disease recurs and the patient needs more aggressive therapy.”
“In a blinded test performed under the sponsorship of the National Cancer Institute’s Early Detection Research Network Biomarker Discovery Lab, researchers detected 15 of 19 cases of stage 1 or stage 2 malignant pleural mesothelioma,” noted the AACR. “The study shows the test is approximately 80 percent sensitive in identifying disease. In addition, the specificity of the test was 100 percent with no false positives.”
During the tests, the NYU researchers used the “Multiplex SOMAmer Assay” procedure by medical technology company, SomaLogic, Inc. “to examine 170 blood samples from 90 patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and 80 participants who were previously exposed to asbestos.” SOMAmers are chemically modified single-stranded DNA molecules that bind specifically to target proteins , to identify and quantify biomarkers.
The NYU researchers said that “ongoing studies are refining the test and validating the results in other patient blood samples.”
While doctors continue to study news treatments for mesothelioma, attorneys and law firms such as Weitz & Luxenberg are working to provide legal help for mesothelioma patients and other victims of asbestos exposure.