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 in just five years.
In a study published yesterday in the Cancer Cell international journal, a multinational team has discovered a squamous cell cancer protective gene. The 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 of 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 present in squamous cell carcinoma cells. This particular gene is also lacking in other tissues where squamous cell carcinoma develops including neck cancer which usually has a bad prognosis. almost all squamous cell carcinomas that were examined by scientists lacked or had almost undetectable levels of the gene. Absence or lack of the gene is therefore a profound cause of these type of cancers, concluded the scientists.
The mechanism by which tumor growth in encouraged by the gene was explained by investigating its exact role (signals the skin cells to stop growing). This 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 are already available and just need to be applied in neck or skin cancer patients. This skips potential long research, testing and drug approval periods and patients could benefit from this new discovery in 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-creams could be one of the protection methods against skin cancer in the near future.