Biomarkers helping to advance of research into diagnosing mesothelioma

Biomarkers helping to advance of research into diagnosing mesothelioma

Research experts in Germany have made progress in the use of biomarkers to help diagnose patients suffering from mesothelioma.

Mesothelioma is just one type of cancer that affects parts of the thin membrane which is located on the inner surface of the chest wall. It is a disease that has affected many people in the UK who came into contact with asbestos through their work. Despite the potential risks of working with asbestos being known, some industries continued to use the product and yet did not provide employees with suitable safety equipment to protect their health.

Shipbuilders, carpenters, roofers, plumbers, painters and demolition workers are just some of the workers who came into contact with asbestos. However it is not just workers who have developed mesothelioma, family members and friends who have handled clothes that have been in contact with asbestos have also been known to become sufferers. In addition, the symptoms of mesothelioma can take up to 50 years to materialise.

The research centred on the biomarker calretinin and looked at its potential use as a diagnostic tool in human blood. The aim was to develop an “enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for human calretinin in blood” and then consider its potential as a diagnostic marker for malignant mesothelioma.

According to the mesothelioma resource site, samples were taken from 97 healthy people, 35 people who were exposed to asbestos through their work and 42 patients suffering from malignant mesothelioma.

The researchers concluded that calretinin levels were found to be significantly higher in patients who were suffering from malignant mesothelioma. They said this suggests that the biomarker might be suitable for the blood-based detection of the disease, possibly alongside other biomarkers such as mesothelin. The research team said the results provide a promising basis for the validation of calretinin as a biomarker for MM in larger case-control as well as prospective studies.

Biomarkers are becoming an increasingly important diagnostic tool in terms of medical research, helping scientists to develop tests to spot the presence of diseases and hopefully in turn identify sufferers at an early stage so medication can be provided to minimise the effects. Much more research remains to be done, but there is little doubt that biomarkers will continue to play a significant role.

The results show just how important it is that more work is put into biomarker research and into building a biomarkers database that can help advance knowledge and diagnosis techniques.

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