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Malignant Melanoma Growth Inhibited By Interleukin 9

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Malignant Melanoma Growth Inhibited By Interleukin 9

Researchers made a significant discovery that targets malignant melanoma, a severe form of skin cancer. It seems that this form of cancer growth is inhibited by interleukin-9, a cell signaling molecule.

Interleukin 9 is a cytokine produced by CD4 helper T lymphocytes and is involved in cell proliferation and apoptosis (cell programmed death). According to a study led by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH),  IL-9 could play a great role in melanoma therapy. The finding been made working with laboratory mice. The team, led by Thomas S. Küpper, MD, chair of the BWH Department of Dermatology, and Rahul Purwar, PhD, found that mice resistant to this form of cancer had high levels of interleukin 9. They also have observed that blocking TH17 (T helper 17) cell pathway leads to inhibition of tumor growth. Also, researchers treated melanoma-bearing mice with T helper cell 9 (cells responsible for producing interleukin-9) and found that they are resistant to melanoma growth. Küpper mentioned that: “Immunotherapy of cancer is coming of age, and there have been exciting recent results in patients with melanoma treated with drugs that stimulate the immune system.”

The connection between interleukin 9 and melanoma has been highlighted also in humans. Thus, it was found that melanoma patients have very low levels of IL-9. This finding is promising and may be the future therapy of malignant melanoma.

Skin Melanoma

Skin Melanoma

Melanoma is a type of cancer of the melanocytes, cells responsible for producing melanin, the pigment that gives skin color. Although it is classified as a skin cancer, melanoma can occur in any site of body where melanocytes exist, including the intestine or in the eye (uveal melanoma). Sun exposure is a risk factor, as well as family history or presence of moles on the skin. Prognosis varies by histologic type (eg, mucosal melanoma has a worse prognosis) and disease stage. Of course, patients with metastases have a poor prognosis.

Melanoma is the leading cause of death among skin cancers. Treatment consists mainly of surgical resection with oncological safety margins and adjuvant therapy (chemotherapy, immunotherapy, interferon, radiation therapy). It is important to remember that melanoma is curable when diagnosed early. In terms of early detection of this type of cancer, a formula to help recognize malignant characters exists: ABCD, ie Asymmetrical lesion of the skin;  Border of the lesion is irregular; Color: usually melanomas have multiple colors; Diameter: moles greater than 6 mm are more likely to be melanomas; Enlarging: enlarging or evolving.