Birmingham’s Heartlands Hospital has received a grant of £21,795 which will be used to research the benefits of Structured Light Plethysmography (SLP) for mesothelioma patients. Could this technology be used to diagnose mesothelioma in the future?
What is SLP?
SLP is a new technology which scans patients with visible light. The diagnostic tool uses squares of light to detect motion in the chest. Cameras then capture real-time images of the patient, which are then used to measure changes in their breathing.
Experts hope that the new technique will identify pleural abnormalities on the chest wall and help doctors to stage mesothelioma tumours.
What are the benefits of this technique?
This technique appears to have huge benefits and is not invasive for people potentially suffering from mesothelioma. Currently to accurately diagnose mesothelioma, patients have to undergo a surgery called a ‘biopsy.’
Sadly, for some patients this surgery is not an option because, due to their ill health, surgery may be too risky. For these patients, SLP could increase confidence in their diagnosis. It may allow patients to know whether they are actually suffering from malignant mesothelioma or not, without having a biopsy. Crucially, we hope that this technology will make it easier for patients who are unable to have a biopsy, to make a mesothelioma compensation claim.
Finally, experts hope that the SLP procedure will allow for significant improvements in the diagnosis of mesothelioma. Hopefully in the future it could reduce waiting times for cancer patients and stop them from having to have invasive operations to diagnose their condition.
Where will the study take place?
The study will take place in the West Midlands. Patients will be invited to join the study if they are suspected to have mesothelioma and are about to have a biopsy. Importantly, this extra step will not delay any of their planned treatments.
The grant for the study comes following a pilot study where 15 people found differences in their chest movement. Therefore, it appears that that this technique may be able to diagnose the difference between mesothelioma and other lung diseases. For example, pleural thickening.
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