Early detection of mesothelioma cancer is one of the keys to surviving it, making a novel diagnostic tool like the miRview meso test so important to the future goal of finding a cure.
The miRview meso test, developed by Rosetta Genomics in Philadelphia, involves a minimally invasive procedure that allows medical professionals to make the tough differentiation between malignant pleural mesothelioma and of lung cancer.
It eventually could help patients shortcut the often lengthy and laborious process of getting a definitive diagnosis of mesothelioma, allowing them to begin treatment sooner, possibly before the disease has metastasized.
For now, though, it is used mostly in the courtroom by defendants and insurance companies in asbestos litigation cases to differentiate between mesothelioma and other diseases with similar symptoms. Rosetta Genomics signed an agreement in 2011 with PACE Claims Services to market it worldwide for legal purposes.
The test has been used to rule out mesothelioma in patients who were exposed to asbestos – the cause of the cancer – and diagnosed with other lung or pleural tumors.
An accurate diagnosis of mesothelioma continues to be a challenge that may require chest X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, biopsies and more, and still leave questions unanswered.
The miRview meso test has begun to eliminate some of the guesswork, using the latest, highly sensitive technology to measure the microRNA in a sample tissue obtained from a tumor biopsy. It measures the expression level of three specific biomarkers, including two carcinoma markers.
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According to a study published in the Journal of Molecular Diagnostics in September 2010, the miRview meso test had a sensitivity of 100 percent and a specificity of 94 percent when differentiating mesothelioma from other cancers of the lungs or pleura.
MicroRNA are smaller, more precise regulators of other genes than the more accepted messenger RNA. MicroRNA, which were discovered only in recent years, have proven to be highly effective biomarkers. They are exceptionally stable, allowing them to be preserved with routine methods for biopsies. They can help doctors identify cancers, guide therapy strategies and predict outcomes. Scientists now believe that controlling levels of specific microRNAs can slow cancer growth.
The earlier that mesothelioma is diagnosed, the more treatment options there are — and the greater the chances of survival. One of the biggest problems with diagnosing mesothelioma is that early symptoms often mimic those of less serious illnesses, which slows the process.
The miRview test, along with scans and imaging tests, can prompt a doctor to order the more aggressive thoracoscopy.
Thoracoscopies are considered the most accurate way to diagnosis mesothelioma. They involve a biopsy sample taken with a camera-equipped tube that goes through the chest wall. Because they are complex procedures, doctors don’t often take them unless there are significant signs from less invasive tests. This method allows a good view of the pleural cavity and provides a sample.
Researchers from the MD Anderson Comprehensive Cancer Center (MDACC) in Texas presented a study of the miRview meso test at the 2010 American Society for Clinical Oncology Convention, giving it a stamp of approval.
The performance of our miRview test, as validated by the MDA clinicians, matched the results we achieved in our validation study … and demonstrates how well the test performed in the ‘real world clinical setting,’
The results of this study are a testament to the overall scientific strength of Rosetta’s microRNA platform technology.
– Kenneth Berlin, President and CEO of Rosetta Genomics
The miRview test, like others involving biomarkers, has proven to be effective in determining the progression of mesothelioma and its aggressiveness. It can help a doctor in prescribing a treatment plan.
Rosetta Genomics is a developer of micro-RNA diagnostic tests and therapeutic tools. There are miRview tests that help with various cancers, including identifying subtypes of lung cancer and kidney tumors. Rosetta Genomics estimates that in the United States, 200,000 patients each year may benefit from miRview tests.
The miRview meso test is widely available. Most oncologists who have dealt with mesothelioma, lung cancer or other thoracic cancers will be familiar with this procedure. Doctors can order collection kits, sample preparation instructions and shipping instructions from the company by phone or online.
A biopsy tissue sample for the test can be obtained during an office visit. The sample can be with an unstained slide, or a tumor section. It is sent to the Rosetta lab for state-of-the-art analysis. Within 10 days, the report is returned to your doctor.
Karen Selby joined Asbestos.com in 2009. She is a registered nurse with a background in oncology and thoracic surgery and was the director of a tissue bank before becoming a Patient Advocate at The Mesothelioma Center. Karen has assisted surgeons with thoracic surgeries such as lung resections, lung transplants, pneumonectomies, pleurectomies and wedge resections. She is also a member of the Academy of Oncology Nurse & Patient Navigators.
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