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Researchers develop improved mesothelioma test

August 24th, 2009

Scientists at Oxford University have a new test which they say will allow them to more accurately diagnose patients with mesothelioma. Researchers are hopeful that using the new test will help to partially eliminate the need for invasive procedures and lengthy hospital stays for patients who exhibit symptoms of  mesothelioma.

According to the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine study, the new test works by focusing on pleural effusions, a buildup of fluid in the cavity that surrounds the lungs. More than 90% of patients with mesothelioma develop a pleural effusion, although the symptom can also be found in patients with other types of cancer.

The new test looks for the presence of a protein called mesothelin in the pleural fluid. Patients with mesothelioma have levels of the protein that are six times higher than patients with lung cancer and 10 times higher than patients with benign conditions.

Researchers who helped to develop the new test say that it will eliminate the need for more invasive procedures and tests that were once necessary to diagnose mesothelioma. The team is hopeful that the new tests will also allow physicians to diagnose patients with mesothelioma sooner, allowing them to begin treatment and relieve the symptoms of the disease earlier in its development.

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