Blood test could diagnose endometriosis within a day, research shows
POSTED THU 2 MAR 2017, 11:28AM
Updated Thu 2 Mar 2017, 2:03pm
By Sarah Whyte
The painful disease of endometriosis that affects one in ten women could be diagnosed by a simple blood test, rather invasive surgery, thanks to research being developed out of the US.
Heather Bowerman from the San Francisco start-up Dot Laboratories has designed a blood test that can identify the presence of endometriosis where the tissue grows on the outside of a woman’s uterus, rather than the inside which causes debilitating pain.
This blood test diagnosis would take one day. Currently, the time between onset of symptoms to diagnosis of endometriosis is up to 11 years.
Endometriosis causes extreme pelvic pain and in some cases, infertility. While there is currently no cure for the condition, having a quick diagnosis would mean women could better manage their pain and have more awareness of the chance of infertility if they eventually want to start a family.
“Dot Laboratories is commercialising the very first technology to diagnose endometriosis,” Ms Bowerman told Hack.
“It takes up to 11 years to diagnose and Dot Labs can take that 11-year time frame and make that into one day with a simple blood test.”
The initial trials have been so successful Ms Bowerman is now in conversations with two global pharmaceutical companies who are looking to partner with her.
“Our dream about what the world would look like in 5 or 10 years or for our daughter’s generation is that Dot Labs can be used as a screening tool for the disease,” she said.
Syl Freedman, who is the co-founder of EndoActive and an endometriosis advocate, says this type of test would be invaluable to young women who are beginning to experience extreme period pain from an early age.
“If I had been diagnosed a lot sooner there’s a good chance I wouldn’t have developed chronic pain,” she said.
“We have normalised women’s pain in that if we are in pain then we think or that’s just normal and I’m not going to go and talk to someone about it because pain is normal.
“We shouldn’t be treated any differently than men and I think if guys were bleeding from their balls and doubling over in pain for months of the year then they would be taken seriously and I think we should as well.”
Louise Hull, Associate Professor for Adelaide University and also on the Endometrisos Australia Advisory Board, says endo sufferers should hold their excitement until tests have been further studied.
“We’re all still trying to work out which people are going benefit from the testing but at this point in time, the idea would be that we would be able to tell without having the surgery certainly more accurately,” she told Hack.
“I think it’s a very interesting study and it is one that several groups have been working on, mainly because there is a massive gap in diagnosis and women have to undertake surgery which is quite invasive and has some risks.”
• There is no cure
• Hysterectomy is not a cure
• Pregnancy is not a cure
• It does not always cause infertility
• Diagnosis can only be made via surgical intervention
• Endometriosis pain does not only occur during periods
Source: Endometriosis Australia