Researchers at the New York School of Medicine have found a protein, "osteopontin" that is raised by up to six times in blood levels of people with
Mesothelioma Tumours. At present the testing for the disease is such that the tumour is only detected at to late a stage for effective treatment and
this new test could lead to much earlier diagnosis of the tumour. The researchers are still studying to determine if the survival rates of sufferers
with pleural mesothelioma is actually improved by the early detection of the tumours.
Currently, only 5 percent of mesotheliomas are spotted early, and even those patients typically die within 34 months.
The results "offer at least a faint glimmer of hope that the fate of future patients with mesothelioma will be better than that of their
predecessors," said Mark Cullen of Yale University in a journal editorial.
Mesothelioma strikes 2,500 to 3,000 people in the United States each year. Most are among the 7.5 million U.S. workers who have been exposed to the
asbestos used for fireproofing, insulation and soundproofing.
The protein may also help doctors gauge which patients are at highest risk for the cancer, so they can be followed closely.
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This protein can also be used to determine if a patient is at risk of contracting this tumour. They then can be monitored closely.
This is a potential hope for sufferers and this protein may possibly lead to a cure for this type of cancer.
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