A BLOOD test that can detect up to 90 per cent of cases of painful female condition endometriosis will soon be available.
The illness occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other parts of the body.
The simple test detects tiny DNA fragments in the blood within days.
Presently diagnosis typically takes 7½years from the first onset of symptoms.
Endometriosis can be extremely painful and is thought to affect 1.5 million women in the UK.
Developed by MDNA Life Sciences and Oxford University, it will be available privately in nine months for about £250.
Dr Christian Becker, from the Nuffield Department of Women’s and Reproductive Health at the University of Oxford, said: “Endometriosis not only causes enormous suffering to the affected women, but also brings a tremendous medical and economic burden to bear on society.
Endometriosis not only causes enormous suffering to the affected women, but also brings a tremendous medical and economic burden to bear on society
Dr Christian Becker, from the Nuffield Department of Women's and Reproductive Health at the University of Oxford
“There is a long lag phase between the onset and diagnosis of the disease, mainly due to its non-specific symptoms and because it can only be diagnosed invasively by laparoscopy.
“A specific, non-invasive test to aid diagnosis of endometriosis is certainly an unmet clinical need.”
Edometriosis is the second most common gynaecological condition after fibroids and can affect fertility.
Harry Smart, MDNA Life Sciences’ chairman said: “We are the only company to use mitochondrial DNA to detect diseases and have developed a library of 16,000 biomarkers to date.
“Our groundbreaking test for endometriosis will fundamentally change the way this debilitating disease is detected and diagnosed.
“We look forward to helping UK women get treatment sooner, reducing their pain and distress and providing cost savings to health services.”
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The company has already developed a blood test to detect prostate cancer, and is looking to release tests for other types of cancer such as ovarian, lung or stomach in the upcoming years.
It is hoped it will later be available on the NHS.
Until now, the only definitive way to diagnose endometriosis has been via laparoscopy – a type of keyhole surgery where a camera is inserted into the pelvis to look at internal organs.
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