Endometriosis is notoriously difficult to diagnose. A recent study showed that it usually takes 7-12 years from first experiencing symptoms to diagnosis.
A private company (MDNA Life Sciences) announced that it is to launch the world’s first blood test for endometriosis, able to detect the disease in up to 9 out of 10 cases. Results will be available in a matter of days after the test is carried out, enabling doctors to make earlier decisions on diagnosis and treatment.
Endometriosis, a debilitating condition affecting 1 in 10 women of reproductive age, causes years of pain and distress. A surgical procedure is required to definitively diagnose the condition, resulting in an average delay to diagnosis of 7.5 years.
Using its proprietary technology, MDNA has developed techniques to exploit the unique characteristics of mutations in mitochondrial DNA, which can act as biomarkers for the presence of a range of diseases.
After successfully identifying biomarkers for different types of cancer, researchers at MDNA’s Newcastle upon Tyne laboratory have now identified biomarkers associated with endometriosis. Results of a clinical study recently published in the peer-reviewed journal Biomarkers in Medicine, show that the newly identified biomarkers can accurately detect endometriosis in blood samples in up to 9 out of 10 cases, even in its early stages.
MDNA has now embarked on a programme to create a CE-marked test kit to enable clinical laboratories in the UK and worldwide to carry out the test on a commercial basis. The CE process will be completed in 9-10 months.
Dr Andrew Harbottle, MDNA Life Sciences’ Chief Science Officer explains: “Mutations in mitochondrial DNA act as ideal biomarkers, providing us with a unique and detailed diary of damage to the DNA and accurately detecting many difficult to diagnose diseases and conditions, such as endometriosis”.
MDNA’s Mitomi Technology platform identifies and optimises the best biomarkers to detect a specific disease. The company has already demonstrated the accuracy of its technology in a blood test for prostate cancer. As well as the new test for endometriosis, MDNA is planning to release tests for ovarian cancer and pancreatic cancer next year. Tests for lung, liver, and stomach cancers will follow in 2021 and more tests are in the pipeline.
Harry Smart, MDNA Life Sciences’ Chairman says “Our ground-breaking test for endometriosis will fundamentally change the way this debilitating disease is detected and diagnosed. We look forward to helping women get treatment sooner, reducing their pain and distress and providing cost savings to health services”.
The development of a reliable non-invasive test for the diagnosis of endometriosis is highly desirable and necessary since it will spare many patients of unnecessary surgical interventions and it will facilitate and speed up the diagnosis and management of endometriosis. This will immensely improve the quality of life of millions of women worldwide.