A study conducted at New York University’s Langone Medical Center has shown that the novel Multiplex SOMAmer Assay can accurately detect early-stage, asbestos-related pulmonary cancer, also known as malignant mesothelioma.

The test, which has been developed by SomaLogic, works by identifying proteins secreted from cancerous tumours caused by asbestos exposure.

In a blinded study, the assay detected 15 out of 19 cases of stage 1 or stage 2 malignant pleural mesothelioma, indicating an 80% sensitivity in identifying the disease.

In addition, the specificity of the test was 100% with no false positives.

Researchers examined 170 blood samples from 90 participants diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma and 80 participants who were previously exposed to asbestos.

The Multiplex SOMAmer Assay uses SOMAmers, chemically modified single-stranded DNA molecules that bind specifically to target proteins, to identify and quantify 19 protein biomarkers linked to malignant mesothelioma.

Malignant pleural mesothelioma is an aggressive, asbestos-related pulmonary cancer that develops in the lining of the lungs. It causes an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 deaths each year worldwide.