Often referred to as “Australia’s national cancer”, melanoma is the third most common cancer in Australian men and women with 13, 941 new cases reported in 2017 alone. Five people are expected to die from the aggressive and often fatal form of skin cancer every day. For the fortunate ones who catch it early, the survival rate for melanoma can be up to 95 percent.
In a world first, researchers at the Edith Cowan University Melanoma Research Group have developed a blood test that is capable of detecting melanoma in its early stages with up to 80 percent accuracy.
Relying on biopsies alone to detect melanomas can often be problematic for clinicians due to their invasive nature. The newly developed blood test, called MeIDX, works by detecting the antibodies the body produces as soon as a melanoma begins to develop. The test provides a starting point for clinicians before they begin other invasive testing to confirm the presence of the skin cancer.
Dr Lee has collaborated with Professor Mel Ziman, Lead Researcher of ECU’s Melanoma Research Group and a raft of other medical experts in Oncotarget’s latest journal article on MeIDX.
It is anticipated that in conjunction with other current diagnostic techniques, MeIDX will help to improve early detection which is key for survival. Researchers will now undertake a clinical trial to help refine the test and further improve its precision. The team expects the testing will take three years, with MeIDX being available for use in pathology clinics shortly afterwards.
As former Deputy Director of WAKMAS (Western Australian Kirkbride Melanoma Advisory Service), Dr Lee is an expert in the latest research management of melanoma, underpinning his approach to associated surgical procedures.
To learn more about the ground breaking MeIDX and the research behind it, head to;