MDNA Life Sciences has developed a new blood test for endometriosis, a debilitating condition characterised by pain and abdominal swelling.

According to Endometriosis UK, approximately 176 million women are living with the condition worldwide. It is currently identified via a surgical procedure, which increases the length of time taken for diagnosis.

During development, the company used its Mitomic Technology to identify unique mitochondrial DNA mutations that could act as biomarkers for the disease. When tested in a clinical study, these biomarkers helped detect endometriosis from blood samples in nine out of ten cases.

“A much bigger study covering a diverse range of demographics would be needed to validate the findings.”

The new test is said to deliver results within days, allowing clinicians to diagnose the disease more quickly. It is also able to detect the condition in its early stages.

Findings have been published in the Biomarkers in Medicine journal.

MDNA Life Sciences chief science officer Andrew Harbottle said: “Mutations in mitochondrial DNA act as ideal biomarkers, providing us with a unique and detailed diary of damage to the DNA and accurately detecting many difficult-to-diagnose diseases and conditions such as endometriosis.”

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The company is currently working towards a CE-marked test kit that will enable clinical use. The CE-Mark clearance is expected to be obtained in 9-10 months.

In response to the company’s announcement, Endometriosis UK CEO Emma Cox said that a larger study is required to validate the data obtained from MDNA’s smaller trial.

Cox noted: “While the research released today is an interesting study, it is a trial with a small sample size and a much bigger study covering a diverse range of demographics would be needed to validate the findings.

“Although a non-surgical test for endometriosis is urgently needed, we should not offer false hopes to women who may have already suffered for many years.”