New Treatment Trains Body To Fight Melanoma

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It's been a breakthrough month in medical research. First, scientists found a new cause and treatment for Alzheimer's disease. And now US researchers have discovered a new way to slow melanoma growth in mice.

The melanoma study in a nutshell

What makes this study unique is that a drug wasn't used to treat aggressive melanoma in the test mice. Instead, the researchers found a way to tap into the body?s own immune system defences to halt the melanoma growth.

They used a technique called cancer immunotherapy, to switch on the body's immune response and stimulate T cells to jump into action in the event of future attacks. This was done in conjunction with ?siccing? antibodies (inciting an attack) on the melanoma tumor.

Why is the melanoma study a breakthrough?

The reason this is such an exciting development is because it?s the first time two forms of attack (T cells and antibodies) have been used together, at the same time, successfully.

Dane Wittrup, a member of the research team, said in a media release that "the antibody-driven innate response creates an environment such that when the T cells come in, they can kill the tumor. In its absence, the tumor cells establish an environment where the T cells don?t work very well."

What were the results of the melanoma study?

Now it gets even more impressive. The results, as mentioned in a media release, revealed that ? in 80 to 90 percent of the mice, tumor disappeared completely; even when tumor cells were re-injected into the mice months after the original treatment, their immune systems destroyed the cells, preventing new tumors from forming.""

So where to go from here,The research team has more work to do, testing out other antibodies to try and reveal the best possible melanoma treatment. If all goes well, clinical trials on humans will be the next step. And then we will hopefully have a much more successful treatment for serious and aggressive melanoma.

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