World’s First Melanoma Blood Test Developed By Australian Reasearchers

Experimental blood test could detect melanoma skin cancer early, study finds

Survival rates for melanoma are between 90 and 95 per cent if the disease is detected early, but if the cancer spreads, survival rates drop to below 50 per cent.

That's not a ideal result, but it does provide a starting point before other, more invasive tests are embarked on; in conjunction with current diagnostic techniques, it could improve early diagnosis - and therefore people's chance of survival.

The blood test, called MelDX, works by detecting the antibodies the body produces as soon as melanoma develops.

The blood-based biomarker could "revolutionize the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of melanoma patients, by allowing the implementation of more regular, informative tests at increased sensitivity, with significantly reduced costs, while reducing radiation exposure", the researchers said in a press release.

She cautioned that the test did not pick up other types of less deadly, but more common, skin cancers such as squamous cell and basal cell carcinoma.

Professor Zimon explained exactly why the early detection of such a cancer is so necessary.

Australian scientists have developed a world-first blood test that is able to detect early-stage melanoma.

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The next step for the scientists, from Edith Cowan University, is to carry out clinical trials to validate their findings, with the hope the test could be available in about three years.

"So a blood test would help in that identification particularly at early stage melanoma, which is what is the most concerning and would be most beneficial for everybody if it was identified early.".

A new blood test is superior to even biopsy, which is invasive and requires excision of the skin under local anesthesia.

Melanoma WA chief executive Clinton Heal has had 34 secondary tumours removed since he was diagnosed with melanoma at age 22. 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.

The main way melanoma is now detected is by a visual scan with any areas of skin that are of concern excised and sent for a biopsy.

The world's first melanoma blood test has a detection rate of 79%. About 14,000 cases were diagnosed in 2017. She added that there are no other biomarkers that can detect the cancer this early in the cancer.

This could take about three years with a test ready for use shortly after that.

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