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05.08.2015

Melanoma cure may be within reach, Tel Aviv U study shows

‘Now we know the triggers’ that tell skin cancer cells to become aggressive tumors inside body, ‘we know what to block,’ says researcher

New research at Tel Aviv University has unlocked the secret of how melanoma spreads and points the way to techniques that will prevent the disease from turning into a killer.

“Maybe in the future, people will be able to rub some substance on their skin as a prevention measure,” said TAU’s Dr. Carmit Levy.

Melanoma accounts for just 2% of skin cancer – which is the most common of all cancers overall – but is responsible for nearly all skin cancer deaths. Melanoma death rates have been rising in recent decades, with overexposure to ultraviolet (UVB) light in the form of sunshine pegged as a major cause. As a result, doctors have long urged sun-worshipers to use copious amounts of sunscreen, which numerous studies have shown can help limit UV exposure.

Melanoma is unlike other cancers in that it doesn’t start out as the result of mutated, invasive cells that form within the body, but rather is caused by external factors that cause changes in skin cells and only later turns into a killer cancer. That change generally takes place when mutated melanoma cells remain untreated on the skin surface (the epidermis) and later sink down to the dermis, from where melanoma-affected cells can spread to the rest of the body, turning from benign growths on the skin to aggressive, metastasizing invasive cancer cells.

Source: The Times of Israel

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