Australia scientists prepare for clinical trial of 'world first' melanoma blood test

Aussie Scientists Have Developed A Blood Test To Detect Melanoma

Almost 14,000 such skin cancer cases are detected each year in Australia with at least 2000 dying from it annually making it the fourth common type of cancer in Australia.

The researchers from Australia's Edith Cowan University say their test was about 80% accurate in correctly diagnosing people with melanoma in a small, early stage trial. 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.

"This is what makes this blood test so exciting as a potential screening tool because it can pick up melanoma in its very early stages when it is still treatable".

The new blood test could provide doctors with a powerful new tool to detect melanoma, the most risky form of skin cancer, before it spreads throughout the body, said researchers at Edith Cowan University (ECU) in Australia. A melanoma blood test would be a significant advance in the public health fight against cancer for a number of reasons-especially since earlier diagnosis of the disease is associated with a significantly higher chance of surviving it.

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It works by detecting antibodies produced by the body in response to melanoma. Currently, melanoma is identified by skin examinations and biopsies, and if caught early, it can be treated with a high success rate. According to her common practice now to detect skin cancer is by analysing skin biopsies. The goal is to get their new test approved within the next five years. "It's important all Australians keep a close eye on their skin and see their doctor straight away if they notice anything unusual", she said. This is what the blood test is created to help prevent.

"We examined a total of 1,627 different types of antibodies to identify a combination of 10 antibodies that best indicated the presence of melanoma in confirmed patients relative to healthy volunteers", Zaenker said.

"As blood samples are easily accessible from patients, various types of blood-based biomarkers have already been proposed to be utilized in a blood test for melanoma, but none have yet demonstrated sufficient sensitivity to detect biological changes at the earliest stages of this malignancy", they wrote.

Experts say the simple blood test could save thousands of lives.

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