Zurich researchers discover dual anti-black skin cancer treatments
For the first time, the development of a treatment for black skin cancer with a double effect was successful. As researchers from the University of Zurich report, the active ingredient on the one hand kills the cancer cells and on the other hand prevents their further spread. This is the first time that a substance has been successfully developed that not only affects the main tumor but also the metastases.
Black skin cancer is very aggressive. Medical professionals distinguish between three main types of skin cancer: white skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma), spiked cell carcinoma and black skin cancer (malignant carcinoma). Basal cell carcinoma and spiked cell carcinoma are usually noticeable due to bumps on the skin and can usually be removed with a small operation. By contrast, malignant carcinoma, black skin cancer, is far more dangerous and difficult to cure.
About 26,000 people fall ill with malignant tumors in Germany every year. 3,000 die from the effects of skin cancer. Black skin cancer is particularly dangerous because it is metastatic at a very early stage and is difficult to cure. UV radiation is considered the main risk factor for the development of black skin cancer. Gerd Nettekoven, managing director of Deutsche Krebshilfe, points out that there is a particular need for clarification about the connection between black skin cancer and solarium visits. Many of the people who regularly lay on the tanning bed were underage. Young people in particular would underestimate the risk of skin cancer.
Active substance against black skin cancer kills cancer cells and prevents them from spreading According to Nathan Luedtke from the Department of Chemistry at the University of Zurich (UZH) and his team in the journal "ACS Chemical Biology", more and more young women are particularly affected by the disease. The Zurich researchers succeeded in developing an active ingredient that not only kills the cancer cells of the main tumor, but also prevents the further spread of the malignant cells. This was investigated using mice in the laboratory. In order to develop its effect, the agent must be activated with laser light. As a result, the drug develops strong toxicity to cancer cells and at the same time inhibits the formation of metastases in the lungs by blocking a key signal in the malignant cells, the researchers write.
Although various cancer therapies have already been developed, such as photodynamic therapies (PDT), they only had a local effect on the main tumor, according to the journal. The patient is injected with an agent that accumulates around the tumor and is toxic when exposed to light. However, some of these methods have serious side effects, write Luedtke and his team.
According to their current state of knowledge, the new active ingredient is the first means that enables the light-therapeutic treatment of skin cancer and at the same time inhibits metastasis even without the influence of light. (ag)