Friday, November 27, 2009

Tiny hidden disc 'can wipe out skin cancer'

A disc the size of a fingernail that destroys the most dangerous form of skin cancer has been developed by scientists. Fitted under the skin, the tiny device wiped out melanoma in up to half of the cases it was tested on. It paves the way for a treatment with improved prognosis and fewer side-effects than traditional anti-cancer drugs. The disc, which measures 8.5mm across, uses proteins usually found on skin tumours as 'bait' to trigger a powerful immune response.

The process begins with the disc, which is porous and loaded with a cocktail of compounds, being implanted under the skin. It releases proteins that lure immune-system messengers inside the disc. There, they spot the tumour proteins planted as bait and kickstart a chain of reactions which culminate in specialised white blood cells hunting down and destroying the tumour itself. The cells are programmed to attack only the tumour, sparing healthy cells from damage, and the body from side effects such as hair loss and nausea.

The manipulation of the immune system means the disc is classed as a vaccine, even though it would be used to treat cancer, rather than prevent it.

When mice with large melanomas were treated, tumours were eliminated in up to half of cases. In contrast, untreated animals rapidly succumbed, the journal Science Translational Medicine reports.

The work, at Harvard University in the U.S., is at an early stage but suggests a similar device could be used to combat skin cancer in people. The scientists believe their technique is simpler than vaccine treatments under development. Researcher Professor David Mooney said: 'We've taken a major step toward the design of effective cancer vaccines.'


Posted via email from Garth's posterous


Pooja said...

Thanks for the information. Skin cancer is very harmful. The main reason being continuous explosure to the sun. There are sun burns caused due to regular explosure of UV rays. There are different types of skin cancer named basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. The treatment you specified is likely to have less side effects and hope it works well. To know more about the causes and types in detail refer what causes cancer

Anonymous said...

Technology really is an inescapable aspect of our daily lives, and I am fairly confident when I say that we have passed the point of no return in our relationship with technology.

I don't mean this in a bad way, of course! Societal concerns aside... I just hope that as memory becomes less expensive, the possibility of copying our memories onto a digital medium becomes a true reality. It's one of the things I really wish I could see in my lifetime.

(Posted on Nintendo DS running [url=]R4i SDHC[/url] DS NetPost)