New Test Shows Promise in Detecting Early-Stage Mesothelioma

New Test Shows Promise in Detecting Early-Stage Mesothelioma


04/11/2011 // Chicago, IL, USA // Mesothelioma Lawyers – Cooney & Conway // Cooney & Conway

Compared to other forms of cancer, mesothelioma is particularly aggressive and deadly. Why? The disease—almost always caused by asbestos exposure—is typically detected only in its advanced stages, when treatment options are of limited effectiveness.

The study was presented April 4 at the American Association for Cancer Research’s 102nd annual meeting. Mesothelioma lawyers and experts say the discovery could be a game changer.

For years, mesothelioma lawyers have had far more success than mesothelioma researchers. Large settlements and jury awards have been commonplace, but a cure remains elusive.

Now researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center may be giving victims of asbestos exposure a valuable tool—and hope. They’ve developed a novel protein test that is effective at detecting early-stage mesothelioma. The NYU test identifies proteins secreted from cancerous tumors caused by asbestos exposure.

“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,” said the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Harvey I. Pass, director of the Division of Thoracic Surgery and Thoracic Oncology at NYU Langone Medical Center and the NYU Cancer Institute.

“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,” Pass said.

Mesothelioma—which can take decades after asbestos exposure to develop—accounts for 15,000 to 20,000 cancer deaths every year. While it initially strikes the protective lining covering internal organs such as the lungs, it can spread throughout the body and most patients succumb to the disease within 14 months of diagnosis.

Mesothelioma is particularly heart-wrenching due to its preventability. Had employers, property owners and manufacturers avoided the use of asbestos, or if they had properly handled it or followed safety precautions, asbestos exposure never would have occurred.

While mesothelioma lawyers have been able to obtain compensation and accountability for those harmed by the negligent asbestos-related actions of others, the disease takes a devastating physical and emotional toll—not just on victims, but on their families as well.

At NYU, researchers detected 15 of 19 cases of Stage 1 or Stage 2 mesothelioma in a blind test performed under the sponsorship of the National Cancer Institute’s Early Detection Research Network Biomarker Discovery Lab. The NYU team examined 170 blood samples—90 from patients diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and 80 from participants who were previously exposed to asbestos.

The test they developed—leveraging a technology called the Multiplex SOMAmer Assay by SomaLogic Inc.—measures 19 protein biomarkers for mesothelioma. This enabled the researchers to find and quantify the small amount of these proteins secreted by tumor cells—and, thus, detect early-stage mesothelioma.

Ongoing studies, Pass said, are refining the test and validating the results in other patient blood samples.

*This news story was brought to you by the mesothelioma lawyers at Cooney & Conway. For more than half a century, we have been advocates for those injured because of the wrongful actions of others. We have litigated and resolved some of the nation’s most significant asbestos lawsuits, bringing justice—and compensation—to victims of asbestos exposure and the lung cancer, mesothelioma and other deadly diseases it can cause.

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