Encouraging advances in skin cancer drugs

Encouraging advances in skin cancer drugs
MELANOMA: Immunotherapy increases life expectancy of sufferers. Photo credit: Wikipedia

IT WAS only ten years ago that a diagnosis of metastatic melanoma – an advanced form of skin cancer – was synonymous with death in a short space of time. Recently, in one of the many cancer congresses held in Spain, specialists had the opportunity to meet a boy who was diagnosed with the disease five years ago, which oncologists call a long-term cancer survivor.

This case, unthinkable a decade ago, is possible thanks to immunotherapy.  This treatment is revolutionising the way the disease is handled and many specialists believe this milestone is greater than when chemotherapy was discovered in the 1940s.

Unlike conventional treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy, immunotherapy is not directed at destroying tumour cells, but instead is to stimulate the patient’s immune system so that it kills the offending cells.

In February this year, the first immunotherapy treatments were tried on five patients in Madrid that have solid tumours with a poor prognosis and from whom a further biopsy can be taken for analysis.

The Oncology department at the Alicante General Hospital is also currently taking part in the scheme, through various clinical trials, that seeks to develop new immunotherapy treatments and drugs.

© No part of this web site may be reproduced without written permission from the publishers. All rights reserved. Todos los derechos reservados.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

We welcome comments from readers on our website and across our social networks. We invite you to discuss issues and share your views and we encourage robust debate and criticism provided it is civil.

However we reserve the right to reject or edit comments that:

• Contain offensive language
• Include personal attacks of any kind
• Are likely to offend or target any ethnic, racial, nationality or religious group
• Are homophobic, transphobic, sexist, offensive or obscene
• Contain spam or include links to other sites
• Are clearly off topic
• Impersonate an individual or organisation, are fraudulent, defamatory of any person, threatening or invasive of another’s privacy or otherwise illegal
• Are trolling or threatening
• Promote, advertise or solicit the sale of any goods or services

You grant us a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, worldwide licence to republish any material you submit to us, without limitation, in any format.