A revolutionary new diagnostic test for endometriosis will shortly be released by an American company. The test developed by the San Francisco based company uses the patient’s saliva to look for particular biomarkers found to be elevated in endometriosis patients.

Endometriosis is a chronic condition where the tissue that lines the womb (called endometrium) grows outside of the womb. This ectopic tissue then bleeds at the same time as a normal period and causes pain. 

Endometriosis is extremely difficult to diagnose due to overlapping symptoms with other gynaecological conditions and usually, there is a long delay from the first appearance of symptoms to a definitive diagnosis.

Currently, the only way to diagnose endometriosis is through laparoscopy, so the availability of such a simple non-invasive test would be welcomed by patients and clinicians alike. 

American company Dotlab announced it will mail a saliva test kit to the patient’s home. The patient then will mail the saliva sample back to them and later get their results through a secure online dashboard.

There is no data available as yet about the reliability of the saliva-based test but the company claims it has been tested on thousands of patients to date. 

The development of the test seems to have stemmed from much research the company has carried out into the levels of molecules called microRNAs present in the blood. 

The levels of these molecules could be used to accurately predict a surgically achieved diagnosis of endometriosis in those suspected of having the condition. 

Dr. Hugh Taylor, Chair of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale School of Medicine, Chief Medical Officer and co-founder of Dotlab said: “Diagnostic biomarkers for endometriosis have the potential to dramatically reduce the time from the onset of symptoms to effective diagnosis and management.” Dr. Taylor also said that once diagnosed, the test could be used for ongoing monitoring of the disease, “These biomarkers could be used to not only identify patients requiring medical or surgical treatment but also to monitor treatment response and recurrence of the disease.”

At present, there is only an early access program allowing some clinicians to get their hands on the kit. The company has not announced a general release date or if the test will be available throughout the world.