A new detection technique for the nearly always fatal condition mesothelioma, referred to as the Breath Print, has doctors excited. Thus far, the test has provided impressive results. A scientific advisor for Pacific Meso Center and surgeon at UCLA Medical Center has one of the few labs in the world currently using the technology. The test has shown the ability to detect the presence of mesothelioma at an early stage, something that doctors were not able to do previously.
The test is non-invasive and is simplistic to apply. The method involves gathering a breath print from a patient - making biopsies and invasive thoracoscopies unnecessary. Although there is still a great deal of research required, doctors believe this test may help push the industry one step closer to finding new methods of combating the disease.
Though this new test may pinpoint the existence of the condition sooner, it does not guarantee longer survival rates. Unlike other types of cancers, mesothelioma develops often unnoticed in a person's lungs after exposure to asbestos, a fibrous material that is breathed in and becomes embedded in the lungs.
A study out of the University of South Wales included 20 patients with the disease, 18 others with diseases related to asbestos and 42 control individuals. According to the results, the breath test was accurate 88 percent of the time. The hope is that with early detection, researchers will be able to use new treatments and therapies to treat the condition sooner. The breath test has also been used in identifying other lung conditions including COPD, emphysema and lung cancer.
Source: Asbestos.com, "Breath Print For Mesothelioma Has Huge Potential," Tim Povtak, August 10, 2012.
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