Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that is not very common, but is the most deadly form of skin cancer, compared to other forms; Basal cell carcinoma(BCC) and Squamous cell carcinoma(SCC).
Why is this skin cancer, so deadly?
What makes melanoma so deadly is its ability to spread throughout the body at an alarming rate, as well as affect other organs like the heart, lungs and brain. In the US alone, 76,000 new cases are reported annually. Most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to the ultraviolet rays produced by the sun.
New research by Michigan State University is going to give hope to the millions of melanoma patients across the world. According to the research, which scientists are extremely optimistic about, a new human-made compound they have developed will be able to stop deadly cancer in its tracks by up to 90% and will also serve to cure melanoma.
How the compound works
The newly created compound will work by stopping the gene activity of cancer by going after its Ribonucleic Acid(RNA), and specific proteins in Melanoma tumors and killing them. This process is known as transcription, or the gene activity is the sole reason that enables cancer to spread. The new compound can stop the spread by shutting down the process. From all the tests that have been done before, no other compound has been able to accomplish that feat.
The same compound has been used to experiment on scleroderma which uses the same concept to spread just like melanoma with positive results. Scleroderma is also a rare and often fatal autoimmune disease that causes the hardening of skin tissue and affects the kidneys, lungs, and the heart.
A form of the compound
According to Richard Neubig, a pharmaceutical professor, the mixture has been made from small molecules which he says, is a robust process. The molecules can inhibit the conditions that favor melanoma progression. Small molecule drugs have now taken over the pharmaceutical market by around 90%, and according to Neubig’s co-author of the report, postdoctoral student Kate Appleton, the findings will go a long way in battling this form of cancer that is responsible for 10,000 deaths each year.
The findings of the research are published in the January issue of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics, and the study was funded by The National Institutes of Health.
Hope for the future
Although much more research still has to be done, the next step is to take the compound and make a safe drug that will work on Melanoma, and with that success, attention can then be turned to the other cancers that have been wrecking havoc on the human race. Afterward, FDA’s approval will have to occur so that the drug can then be allowed into the market where chances of this happening are very high.
“The majority of people die from melanoma because of the disease spreading,” he said. “Our compounds can block cancer migration and potentially increase patient survival.”
According to Neubig, if melanoma is diagnosed early, chances of it becoming fatal are only 2% and 85% if detected late.