The blood test could reduce the need for invasive skin biopsies.
Used in conjunction with visual scans, the highly sensitive blood test for melanoma could reduce the need for invasive skin biopsies.
The researchers are now calling on those recently diagnosed with a melanoma, as well as healthy volunteers, such as friends and family of melanoma patients, to participate in the study to help make the test a reality.
The study is an extension of a preliminary investigation performed in 2012 by ECU School of Medical Sciences Professor Mel Ziman. Involving 40 people, it identified eight blood biomarkers that indicate the presence of a melanoma tumour at very early stages.
The National Health and Medical Research (NHMRC) Development Grant will now allow researchers to conduct an expanded study involving 300 people.
“Early diagnosis is the key to improving survival rates for melanoma sufferers,” Professor Ziman said.
“If melanoma can be caught and removed before it has a chance to spread, the chance of a patient surviving is as high as 98 per cent.
“A reliable blood test could be used to screen at-risk patients annually, reducing the need for unnecessary surgical procedures.”