Medical dermatology is constantly evolving. Doctors and scientists are consistently looking for ways to improve treatment options for a range of conditions, from cystic acne and eczema to psoriasis and rosacea. Skin cancer research and treatment has commanded a lot of attention in recent months. Scientists around the world are testing the limitations of medical knowledge for skin cancer identification, diagnosis, and treatment, improving prognoses and prevention methods.
Skin Cancer Research Worth Following
We think some of those developments are pretty interesting. Below, we’ve detailed five of the most interesting and meaningful improvements to skin cancer research in recent months.
For years, companies have been attempting to develop a vaccine to hinder skin cancer development. Now, one company is expanding its human clinical trials: advanced Merkel cell carcinoma and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma. Twenty patients with late-stage forms of these cancers will be eligible for the study, which will involve administering the vaccination, through a tuberculin syringe, into the tumor. If this phase of human clinical trials proves to be successful, the company will move into phase two, which will include 160 patients and expand to melanoma treatment.
A researcher at Indiana University identified eight new genomic regions that increase risk for developing skin cancer. The research team conducted the largest ever genetic-associated study for squamous cell carcinoma. Their findings shed light on how this form of skin cancer develops. They concluded that pigmentation genes, among others, can be a person’s skin cancer susceptibility gene. This will help develop new techniques of identifying a genetic predisposition to the condition.
Smartphone app developers are trying to make skin cancer diagnoses easier, but doctors warn that the technology is not sufficiently catching malevolent growths. A new study found that the leading apps that offer this service consistently missed melanomas and told some users their non-cancerous moles were a cause for concern. The study assessed nine previous studies, each of which analyzed six different apps. This is further cause to visit a dermatologist for skin cancer checks. Apps may be convenient, but they are never as effective as a doctor.
Researchers recently detailed differences in skin cancer prevalence across several sexual orientations and gender identities. The study found that gay and bisexual men had higher rates of skin cancer than heterosexual men. By contrast, the study also found lower rates among bisexual and gay women than among heterosexual women. While the relationship between these rates is not causal (i.e. being a sexual minority does not cause skin cancer), the findings can be used to implement a more effective Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System for sexual minorities.
Malignant melanoma is one of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer. It is more likely to spread to other parts of the body. It accounts for 1 percent of skin cancers, but is responsible for more than 90 percent of skin cancer deaths. However, researchers are developing new therapies to block specific targets in tumor production pathways. Additionally, cancer vaccines are gaining additional momentum as possible treatment options. While melanoma prevention is still more effective than a cure, these new technologies provide hope that malignant melanoma prognoses will improve significantly in the coming years.
See a Dermatologist about Diagnosing and Treating Skin Cancer
Anyone in the Twin Cities area who believes they may have skin cancer or wants a second opinion about a diagnosis and treatment plan should Contact us to schedule an appointment at one of our local clinics in Minneapolis, Edina or Plymouth.