A team of scientists at Oxford University have created a more sensitive test for mesothelioma. The new test is less invasive and more accurate. The test distinguishes the reason for the pleural effusion, which can be caused by many other lung conditions. 90% of mesothelioma sufferers have this condition.
Currently doctors perform pleural fluid cytology looking for cancerous cells. This is not a particularly sensitive test.
The Oxford Team measured the level of meothelin a protein in the lungs, which are 6 times higher in patients with mesothelioma.
The new test will hopefully speed up diagnosis and reduce the need for unnecessary tests thereby reducing time in hospital. It will also allow compensation claims to start much earlier.