Up to 3,000 Americans are diagnosed with mesothelioma, a disease that can take decades to appear, every year. Mesothelioma symptoms can mimic those of les serious, common illnesses, and for this reason a mesothelioma diagnosis is often delayed until the cancer has reached its final stages. Because of this, effectively treating any form of mesothelioma is very difficult and the average mesothelioma life expectancy is only about 18 months after diagnosis.
Now there is hope on the horizon: researchers at a privately-held protein biomarker discovery and clinical diagnostics company in Colorado called SomaLogic may have found a blood protein biomarker that may lead to earlier mesothelioma diagnosis. This would give mesothelioma patients earlier access to treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, potentially adding months or even years to their lives.
The company recently released a press release, in which researchers stated that they discovered 13 blood proteins associated with mesothelioma, even when the disease is in its earliest stages. They are hopeful that this discovery can help doctors identify patients who are strong candidates for mesothelioma, based on earlier asbestos exposure.
According to Rachel Ostroff, Clinical Research Director at SomaLogic, “We have assembled blood proteins and the data that we collected on their levels in the blood into a classifier; so it uses the information from all of the proteins to give a risk assessment of whether a person has mesothelioma or not.”
Ostroff went on to confirm that SomaLogic is currently in conversation s with potential partners to license the test, allowing it to be offered in a clinical setting, stating, “The disease takes decades, 20 or 30 years after the asbestos exposure, to manifest and once mesothelioma starts growing, it’s a very aggressive disease. It progresses very quickly from undetectable to quite a large extent of the disease and is fatal within a year or two.