Breakthrough: First Blood Test for Melanoma Developed

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Researchers in Australia have developed the "world's first" blood test for early-stages melanoma, hailing it as a breakthrough that could increase survival rates from the deadly skin cancer.

"This melanoma autoantibody signature may prove valuable for the development of a diagnostic blood test for routine population screening that, when used in conjunction with current melanoma diagnostic techniques, could improve the early diagnosis of this malignancy and ultimately decrease the mortality rate of patient", the authors write.

If further trials are successful, Ziman estimates the test could be distributed internationally in up to five years.

The researchers, from Edith Cowan University, said the new test could enable specialists to distinguish the skin malignancy before it spreads through a man's body.

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The goal of researchers is to bring the accuracy of the analysis to 90%.

Australian scientists believe that they have created a blood test that is able to detect melanoma in its early stages, reports BBC News.

The research, which is still in its early stages, was published in the journal Oncotarget on July 18 based on a trial involving 105 patients with melanoma and 104 healthy people. Right now, melanoma is usually diagnosed through a biopsy of a mole or suspicious skin lesion-a procedure that can be expensive and potentially painful.

Australia has the second highest level of melanoma in the world after New Zealand, with 14,000 new diagnoses and nearly 2,000 deaths every year.

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They also said that the blood test could provide more accurate results than the human eye and save many lives.

The best way to avoid a melanoma diagnosis in the first place is to stay sun smart by wearing sunscreen when outside and by going for a skin check every six to 12 months.

'While clinicians do a fantastic job with the tools available, relying on biopsies alone can be problematic.

Professor Zimon explained exactly why the early detection of such a cancer is so necessary. She added that there are no other biomarkers that can detect the cancer this early in the cancer. The team examined 1627 different antibodies and identified a combination of 10 that are the most reliable in predicting the presence of melanoma. High risk individuals, she explained, are those who have pale skin, large number of moles and a family history of skin cancer.

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