Australian scientists have developed the world’s first blood test to detect melanoma in its early stages.
Early trials of the test involving 209 people showed it was capable of picking up early stage melanoma in 81.5 per cent of cases.
The next step for the scientists from Edith Cowan University is to carry out clinical trials to validate their findings, with hopes the test could be commercially available in about three to five years.
Professor Mel Ziman, head of the Melanoma Research Group at the University, says the test has the potential to save thousands of lives.
It can help deliver a more accurate diagnosis of early-stage melanoma, which can be tricky to detect with the human eye particularly if small.
The test could also benefit people living in rural areas where it’s hard to get to a dermatologist.
“It’s critical that melanoma is diagnosed more accurately and early,” Prof Ziman said.
“So a blood test would help in that identification particularly at early stage melanoma, which is what is the most concerning and would be most beneficial for everybody if it was identified early.”.
Melanoma is the fourth most common cancer in Australia and claims the lives of about 1500 people each year. About 14,000 cases were diagnosed in 2017.