The MELISA test is a clinically validated blood test which measures metal hypersensitivity to multiple metals from a single sample. It was originally developed for the diagnosis of occupational allergies at Astra Pharmaceuticals (now AstraZeneca).
The MELISA test, a modification of the LTT test, started to take shape when Dr Vera Stejskal, a toxicologist at Astra Pharmaceuticals in Södertälje, Sweden, was asked to develop a test for the diagnosis of drug allergy among workers in their pharmaceutical factories. In 1990, a colleague of Dr Stejskal, dermatologist Dr Margit Forsbeck, expressed a wish to try the test on patients who claimed that their symptoms were caused by their amalgam fillings. At that time, many patients came to Dr Forsbeck with oral problems – burning, itching and lichenoid reactions – and claimed that they suffered from “oral galvanism” or “amalgam poisoning”.
The problem was that patch testing was not very reliable for testing metals on the skin, as some metals are toxic substances. If a metal causes irritation on the skin, it is difficult to differentiate between a toxic and an allergic reaction. The dermatologist was concerned to know if mercury allergy really existed and wanted to prove or disprove this. Perhaps MELISA could do the job?
Astra, a pharmaceutical rather than a diagnostic company, had no interest in developing the MELISA test and so, shortly afterwards, the MELISA organisation was founded to promote research into metal hypersensitivity and its implications in contributing to the development of chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue syndrome.
The MELISA test was then optimised and standardised and finally validated for testing multiple metals. Today, MELISA is performed under license by certified laboratories worldwide. To date, the MELISA test has helped hundreds of patients to lead healthier lives.