Lead SALead SA

Doctors may soon be able to detect melanoma early

Written by: Lengwadishang Ramphele

Scientists in Western Australia have developed the world's first blood test that is capable of detecting melanoma in its early stages. Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can spread to other organs in the body.

Prof Mel Ziman Head of the Melanoma Research Group at Edith Cowan University says it is not easy to diagnose melanoma in its early stages and it is usually missed by doctors when checking for unusual moles on patients.

Read: Scientists produce personalised skin cancer vaccine

If we diagnose melanoma early we can almost certainly cure it because if you cut it out early chances of it spreading are really minimal.

Prof Mel Ziman Head of the Melanoma Research Group at Edith Cowan University

Ziman says it could take about five years to finally see this test rolled out throughout the world.

This will enable GPs to do blood tests rather than a biopsy which most of the time come out negative, making it very difficult to detect melanoma, says Ziman.

We first have to prove that our test works and then take it for a clinical trial where we will use a 1000 participants from the around the world.

Prof Mel Ziman Head of the Melanoma Research Group at Edith Cowan University

These participants will do the tests at the time when the clinician says they need a biopsy. From the time a biopsy is taken, we will take a blood sample and test the antibodies...

Prof Mel Ziman Head of the Melanoma Research Group at Edith Cowan University

Ziman says at the moment they are not looking for participants who already have melanoma but those who are recommended to go for a biopsy to be able to test their antibodies.

She says she has been receiving emails from patients around the world offering to do blood tests but unfortunately these are people who are already diagnosed with melanoma.

To hear the rest of the conversation with Prof Mel Ziman, listen below:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : Doctors may soon be able to detect melanoma early




Read next from articles

Why we need to talk more about colourism and light-skinned privilege

Why we need to talk more about colourism and light-skinned privilege

Phrases like 'Beautiful for a dark girl" or "Yellow bone" can perpetuate light-skinned privilege and create harmful social ideals.
Read on...

UCT, UP researchers recognised at women in science awards

UCT, UP researchers recognised at women in science awards

Professor Heather Zar was honoured for establishing a research programme on pneumonia, TB & asthma. Danielle Twilley received an award for her research into melanoma treatment.
Read on...

SA researchers discover potential new anti-cancer drug

SA researchers discover potential new anti-cancer drug

A drug discovered by researchers at UJ is showing promising results that could make it a potential new cancer treatment.
Read on...

When a person dies, why doesn't the body repair itself? Naked Scientist answers

When a person dies, why doesn't the body repair itself? Naked Scientist answers

The Naked Scientist joins the Eusebius McKaiser Show every Friday to answer questions either on science or just about anything.
Read on...

Naked Scientist: Your skin has a memory

Naked Scientist: Your skin has a memory

A new study has shown skin cells can remember previous injuries and respond faster if the same patch of tissue is injured again.
Read on...

Scientists produce personalised skin cancer vaccine

Scientists produce personalised skin cancer vaccine

The Naked Scientist has more on this and other science related stories.
Read on...

What men need to know about checking for prostate cancer

What men need to know about checking for prostate cancer

Urologist and sexual health expert Dr Shingai Mutambirwa says it's vital for men above 40 to check their prostates annually.
Read on...

Health and Wellness: Early detection of Skin cancer could save a life

Health and Wellness: Early detection of Skin cancer could save a life

Skin doctor, Dr Ian Webster talks about ways to take care of skin and reduce chances of getting skin cancer.
Read on...