It is a fact that melanoma is the deadliest of skin cancers. Furthermore, the rate of this type of skin cancer has doubled over the course of the last two decades. Another disturbing fact is that it is becoming ever more common in young adults and in children as well. In this situation, many research institutes and treatment centres carry out studies which are intended to identify the precise causes of this condition and to produce a cure. Learn more about some of their latest findings.
It is known that melanoma typically occurs in skin cells which have been damaged by UV rays. However, the precise way in which ultraviolet light works to cause cellular damage is not known. In recent times, researchers have made great progress in this field. The latest studies show that the UV rays work to cause cellular damage leading to this type of skin cancer in two different ways.
One of the ways in which UV rays can cause this condition is through damage of skin cells during childhood leading to sunburn. Even though the tumour develops many years later, it is this initial change in the cellular DNA which has triggered it. The other way in which the condition can be caused is through regular exposure to UV radiation during adulthood. This can still lead to tumour formation even without the presence of sunburn.
Advanced Combination Treatment
A recent study which involved 500 melanoma patients from 20 different countries has revealed that combining two separate drugs for the treatment of this condition can produce more effective results. The two medications attacked the tumours in two different ways. The combined therapy helped to extend the period during which the growth of the tumours was inhibited from 6 to 9 months and even 10 months in some cases. In 10% of the patients, the existing tumours were completely eliminated.
Melanoma Vaccine Development
The vaccine is intended to be used for the treatment of this type of skin cancer and not for its prevention. Still, it works in the same way as ordinary vaccines designed to prevent virus infections. It contains weakened melanoma cells or specific compounds which are present in such sells. They are purposefully injected in the body in order to trigger an immune response. If this happens, the body’s immune system will work to destroy the abnormal cells. Previously made vaccines have not been greatly effective, but the scientists are working on making more advanced ones.
Hopefully, melanoma research will produce a cure for this condition soon.