Genetic Breakthrough Stops Skin Cancer
An amazing breakthrough in halting skin cancer could be the starting point of new cancer treatment options and methods of prevention, available inÂ just five years.
In a study published yesterday in the Cancer Cell international journal, a multinational team has discovered aÂ squamous cell cancerÂ protective gene. TheÂ scientist team is led by Professor Stephen Jand and Dr Charbel Darido.
About two in three new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Australians before reaching the age ofÂ 70. squamous cell cancer is by far the most frequent type diagnosed. Until lately the exact genetic mechanism of squamous cell carcinoma was not fully understood and the surgical excision being pretty much the only treatment option.
A very important gene, involved in fetal skin development is not presentÂ in squamous cell carcinoma cells. This particular geneÂ is alsoÂ lacking in other tissues where squamous cell carcinoma develops including neck cancer which usually has a bad prognosis.Â almost all squamous cell carcinomas that were examined byÂ scientists lacked or had almost undetectable levels of the gene. Absence or lack of the gene is therefore a profound cause of theseÂ type ofÂ cancers, concluded the scientists.
The mechanism by which tumor growth in encouraged by the gene was explained by investigating its exact role (signals theÂ skin cells to stop growing). ThisÂ skin cancer driver can provide a new treatment target for future research programs. On the other hand some drugs that can be used effectively for treating squamous cell carcinoma areÂ already available and just need to be applied in neck or skin cancer patients. This skips potentialÂ longÂ research, testing and drug approval periods and patients could benefit fromÂ this new discoveryÂ inÂ just five years.
On the other hand, prevention could be also achieved by methods that will increase the expression of this particular gene in an individual. For example, supplement sun-creamsÂ could be one of theÂ protection methodsÂ against skin cancerÂ in theÂ near future.