Melanoma: Cell Ringleaders Found
Cells That Spur Melanoma Growth May Make Good Treatment Targets, Study Shows
Jan. 16, 2008 -- Melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, may get nipped in the
bud by targeting certain cells.
Those findings could lead to new melanoma treatments, say researchers, including Tobias
Schatton, PharmD, of the Transplantation Research Center of Children's Hospital
Boston and Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston.
The researchers found certain cells that spur aggressive melanoma
growth and resist chemotherapy. Targeting those cells with antibodies curbed
melanoma in lab tests on mice.
The antibody treatment isn't ready for use in people yet. But the lab tests
are "a significant step" toward new melanoma therapies, Schatton's team
writes in tomorrow's edition of Nature.
The researchers also call for more studies to see if the same cells, or
cells like them, launch other types of cancer.
Meanwhile, early detection matters. The National Cancer Institute lists
these possible signs of melanoma:
- A mole that changes in size, shape, or color
- A mole that has irregular edges or borders
- A multicolored mole
- An asymmetrical mole (if the mole is divided in half, the two halves are
different in size or shape)
- An itchy mole
- A mole that oozes, bleeds, or is ulcerated (has a hole that shows
- Change in pigmented (colored) skin
- Satellite moles (new moles that grow near an existing mole)