A new skin cancer detection system has been developed that can pinpoint when skin pigment cells mutate into melanoma in an amazing new medical breakthrough.
According to Harvard Science, researchers at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital have achieved a new skin cancer detection system that can tell when a skin pigment becomes cancerous. The teams that found this new way of skin cancer detection were led by Harvard Medical School Assistant Professor of Medicine Yujiang Geno Shi, from BWH’s Department of Medicine, and George F. Murphy, from BWH’s Department of Pathology. With their thorough research and experimentation, both teams have discovered a new biomarker for the lethal disease.
According to Anthony Carter, who works for the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences which mainly funded the new skin cancer detection project, “Dr. Shi and colleagues have discovered an exciting new connection between the loss of a specific chemical mark in the genome and the development of melanoma. This work is a prime example of how basic research on mechanisms of epigenetic regulation can yield clinically significant insights that hold great promise for diagnosing and treating cancer.” The study, which was published on September 14 in Cell, states how the researchers discovered certain biochemical elements in the DNA of normal pigment-producing skin cells and benign mole cells are non-existent in melanoma cells. Specifically, the loss of the methyl groups, known as 5-hmC, in skill cells is a main indicator of melanoma.
While the new skin detection method was a great success in itself, remarkably, researchers were also able to reverse the melanoma growth in their preclinical studies. They did this by introducing enzymes that are responsible for 5-hmC formation to melanoma cells lacking the element, and to their great surprise, saw that the cells stopped growing. According to one of the lead authors of the study and physician-scientist in the Department of Pathology at BWH, Christine Lian stated, “It is difficult to repair the mutations in the actual DNA sequence that are believed to cause cancer. So having discovered that we can reverse tumor cell growth by potentially repairing a biochemical defect that exists — not within the sequence but just outside of it on the DNA structure — provides a promising new melanoma treatment approach for the medical community to explore.”
photo by Wikipedia
Science and Medicine at Work – New Skin Cancer Detection Breakthrough.