Those familiar with the asbestos-caused cancer mesothelioma are well aware the disease takes decades to develop and by the time it’s recognized, it’s too late for recovery. When symptoms finally develop and mesothelioma is diagnosed, its victims often survive less than one year.
In 2008, Japanese researchers released a study about a protein produced by certain cancer cells and it’s ability to mark mesothelioma tumors. Six years later, the same scientists discovered the biomarker may serve as a warning tool for those at risk for mesothelioma.
In 2007, the group selected 40,000 participants who worked with asbestos earlier in life and collected annual blood samples to monitor for the protein. From that research, they selected 62 subjects with the highest chances of developing the cancer. Of the 62 most likely, two have already been diagnosed and the other 60 are being carefully checked.
Depending on further results, monitoring this protein may help at-risk people determine if they will develop mesothelioma. A quicker diagnosis may save, or at least prolong, many lives until a cure is discovered.
Surviving Mesothelioma. (2014). Mesothelioma blood test may save lives through earlier diagnosis. [Link]