New Antibody to Diagnose Mesothelioma

New Antibody to Diagnose Mesothelioma

Scientists are trying to find ways to diagnose malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) more easily. An antibody called SKM9-2 could be the answer.

A team of researchers from Japan are hoping to use SKM9-2 to develop new drugs to treat MPM. These new drugs might be able to target the cancer cells directly.

Road to Definitive Diagnosis

MPM is an aggressive cancer caused by asbestos that affects the area around the lungs. There are approximately 2,000 cases of mesothelioma diagnosed in the United States every year.

The road to a definitive diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma can sometimes take weeks. In the early stages, people with pleural mesothelioma commonly experience shortness of breath, chest pain, persistent dry cough, and unexplained weight loss. These symptoms can also be caused by more common conditions like coronary artery disease or the flu.

To reach a diagnosis, doctors usually need to look at a sample of the affected tissue. But even this method can be challenging. It is hard to tell MPM apart from other tumors or non-cancerous growths in the same area. There are no easy tests to diagnose MPM, and current guidelines require several complicated tests. These tests are often expensive and time-consuming.

New Biomarker

The researchers in this study looked for biomarkers that could be used to more easily diagnose MPM. A biomarker is molecule in the body that shows something is happening, like a disease or a health problem. Doctors can measure biomarkers to identify diseases and make treatment decisions.

The research team found a molecule called SKM9-2 that showed promise in detecting mesothelioma. This molecule is a monoclonal antibody that recognizes and bind to proteins found in MPM cells.

Since SKM9-2 can recognize unique features of MPM cells, it could also be used to develop more effective treatments for MPM. This is important because there are limited treatment options for MPM and the prognosis is usually poor.


TSUJI, S. and IMAI, K., 2023. Medical application of the monoclonal antibody SKM9-2 against sialylated HEG1, a new precision marker for malignant mesothelioma. Proceedings of the Japan Academy, Series B99(2), pp.39-47.

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