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skin cancer

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Scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital have developed a drug that mimics sunlight to make the skin tan, with no damaging UV radiation involved.

According to researchers, the drug tricks the skin into producing the brown form of the pigment melanin in tests on skin samples and mice.

Evidence suggests the drug will work even on redheads, who normally just burn in the sun.

The team hopes the discovery could prevent skin cancer and even slow the appearance of ageing.

UV light makes the skin tan by causing damage.

Image source Pexels

This kicks off a chain of chemical reactions in the skin that ultimately leads to dark melanin – the body’s natural sun block – being made.

The drug is rubbed into the skin to skip the damage and kick-start the process of making melanin.

It is a markedly different approach to fake tan, which “paints” the skin without the protection from melanin, sun beds, which expose the skin to UV light or pills that claim to boost melanin production but still need UV light.

However, the team is not motivated by making a new cosmetic.

Tests, detailed in the journal Cell Reports, have shown the melanin produced by the drug was able to block harmful UV rays.

Eventually the scientists want to combine their drug with sun-cream to give maximum protection from solar radiation.

The way the drug works could also allow a ginger tan, as the genetic mutation that causes red hair and fair skin disrupts the normal process where UV light leads to dark melanin.

It is not yet clear if the drug might have the unintended consequence of affecting the glorious hair color, but it is thought the hair follicle is too deep in the skin for the drug to reach.

Anyway, whether you are ginger, blonde or brunette, the drug is not yet ready for commercial use.

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A new study has shown that a fifth of people with advanced melanoma have no sign of tumors in their body after treatment with a pair of immunotherapy drugs.

The first survival data on using ipilimumab and nivolumab in combination showed 69% of patients, in a trial on 142, were still alive after two years.

Both drugs were developed by Bristol-Myers Squibb.

UK doctors leading the trial said the results were “very encouraging”.

More studies on the emerging field of immunotherapy will be presented later.

Photo Flickr

Photo Flickr

The immune system is a powerful defense against infection. However, there are many “brakes” built in to stop it attacking our own tissues.

Cancer – which is a corrupted version of healthy tissue – can take advantage of those brakes to evade assault.

Ipilimumab and nivolumab are designed to cut the brakes.

Both have become standard therapies in melanoma, but most researchers believe combination therapy will be essential.

The trial showed the survival rate after two years for ipilimumab alone was 53% and no patient’s tumors had completely disappeared.

The equivalent figures for combination therapy were 69% and 22%.

However, more than half of patients had severe to life-threatening side effects which stopped their treatment.

A much larger trial involving nearly 1,000 patients has already started releasing data, but has not run for long enough to produce survival figures.

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According to a recent research, having more than 11 moles on the right arm indicates a higher-than-average risk of skin cancer or melanoma.

Counting moles on the right arm was found to be a good indicator of total moles on the body. More than 100 indicates five times the normal risk.

The study, published in the British Journal of Dermatology, used data from 3,000 twins in the UK.

Doctors could use the findings to identify those most at risk, it said.

Melanoma develops from abnormal moles, so the risk of being diagnosed with the disease is linked to the number of moles a patient has.

Researchers from King’s College London studied a large group of female twins over a period of 8 years, collecting information on skin type, freckles and moles on their bodies.Mole and skin cancer risk

After repeating the exercise on a smaller group of around 400 men and women with melanoma, they came up with a quick and easy way to assess the risk of skin cancer.

Females with more than 7 moles on their right arm had nine times the risk of having more than 50 on their whole body.

Those with more than 11 on their right arm were more likely to have more than 100 on their body in total, meaning they were at a higher risk of developing a melanoma.

The findings could help doctors to identify those with an increased risk of developing a melanoma.

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According to a new research, HIV can be flushed out of its hiding places in the body using PEP005 – one of the ingredients in a treatment to prevent cancer in sun-damaged skin.

The cornerstone of treatment, anti-retroviral therapy, kills the virus in the bloodstream but leaves “HIV reservoirs” untouched.

The study, published in PLoS Pathogens, showed PEP005 was “highly potent” at reactivating hidden HIV.

Experts said the findings were interesting, but it was important to know if PEP005 was safe in patients.HIV treatment PEP005

The power of the HIV reservoir was shown with the case of the Mississippi baby.

The baby girl was given antiretroviral drugs at birth. Despite appearing to be free of HIV for nearly two years after stopping treatment, she was found to be harboring the virus.

A strategy known as “kick and kill” is thought to be key to curing HIV – the kick would wake up the dormant HIV allowing the drugs to kill it.

The team at the Davis School of Medicine investigated PEP005. They tested the drug in cells grown in the laboratory and in parts of the immune system taken from 13 people with HIV.

The report said “PEP005 is highly potent in reactivating latent HIV” and that the chemical represents “a new group of lead compounds for combating HIV”.

One of the researchers, Dr, Satya Dandekar, said: “We are excited to have identified an outstanding candidate for HIV reactivation and eradication that is already approved and is being used in patients.

“This molecule has great potential to advance into translational and clinical studies.”

However, PEP005 has still not been tested in people who are HIV-positive.

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Researchers have found that a genetically-engineered version of the cold sore virus (herpes simplex virus) could treat skin cancer.

T-Vec, the modified herpes virus, is harmless to normal cells but when injected into tumors it replicates and releases substances to help fight the cancer.

The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, show the therapy could lengthen survival by years – but only for some melanoma patients.

The treatment is not yet licensed.

Similar “immunotherapy” treatments for melanoma are already available in the US and in Europe, but researchers believe T-Vec would be a welcome addition to these.Herpes simplex virus and skin cancer

It would also be the first melanoma treatment that uses a virus.

The latest study is the largest ever randomized trial of an anti-cancer virus and involved 436 patients from 64 centers in the US, the UK, Canada and South Africa who had inoperable malignant melanoma.

UK trial leader Prof Kevin Harrington, from the Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: “There is increasing excitement over the use of viral treatments like T-Vec for cancer, because they can launch a two-pronged attack on tumors – both killing cancer cells directly and marshalling the immune system against them.

“And because viral treatment can target cancer cells specifically, it tends to have fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy or some of the other new immunotherapies.”

Although it has not yet been licensed, doctors are excited about the very real prospect of a brand new type of treatment for advanced melanoma – and, in the future, possibly other cancers too.

The idea of using viruses to enter and kill cancerous cells has been gathering scientific pace and kudos.

This latest study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology is the largest ever randomized trial of an anti-cancer virus and provides tantalizing evidence that the treatment concept could soon be moved into the clinic, after decades of work in the lab.

Researchers now want to do more studies to identify which patients might benefit from the treatment and whether it should be used alongside other melanoma drugs that are already approved.

Drug regulators will be watching closely and will soon make a final decision about T-Vec.

Damage to the skin by the sun’s harmful UV rays increases your risk of developing this cancer.

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Australia cricket legend and commentator Richie Benaud has died from skin cancer aged 84.

Richie Benaud played in 63 Tests, 28 as captain, before retiring in 1964 to pursue a career in journalism and broadcasting.

His final commentary in England came during the 2005 Ashes series but he continued to work for Channel Nine in Australia until 2013.

In November, Richie Benaud revealed he was being treated for skin cancer.Richie Benaud dead at 84

Richie Benaud took 945 wickets in 259 first-class matches and made 11,719 first-class runs, scoring 23 centuries at an average of 36.50.

He was the first man to achieve 2,000 runs and 200 wickets at Test level.

Richie Benaud was also a highly regarded tactician and never lost a Test series as Australia captain, winning five and drawing two.

After such an impressive playing career, Richie Benaud became even better known as a prolific author, columnist and commentator on cricket.

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According to a new study, sunlight continues to damage people’s skin and increase the risk of cancer for hours after exposure.

Scientists at Yale University discovered it was the supposedly protective pigment melanin that was causing the damage.

The research team says the findings may lead to better sunscreens that can prevent the extra damage.

When UV radiation pummels our skin cells, it can cause mutations in the DNA.

Melanin, the pigment behind a tan or natural skin tone, is the body’s defense as it absorbs the radiation.Sunlight skin damage

What scientists did not know previously was what happens to all the energy that the melanin has absorbed.

The Yale team showed, in the journal Science, that the high-energy version of melanin supercharges a series of chemical reactions.

A cocktail of superoxides and peroxynitrites culminate in a “very high-energy molecule breaking apart and releasing the energy that was holding it together”, said lead researcher Prof. Douglas Brash.

In laboratory tests, the whole damage in skin was still taking place four hours after UV exposure was stopped.

“Half or more of this kind of DNA damage is not happening on the beach, it’s on the car on the way home,” Prof. Douglas Brash said.

The team hopes they can develop a sunscreen that combines the usual protection with absorbing any energy from the melanin.

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Hugh Jackman has been treated for skin cancer for a third time.

The 46-year-old actor was recently pictured with another bandage on his nose and his representatives confirmed to E! News he has been treated for Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC).

Hugh Jackman’s representatives say he’s “all good” after the procedure.

BCC is a slow-growing skin cancer and is linked to sun exposure.

It accounts for about 75% of skin cancers but rarely kills.

Hugh Jackman has been treated for skin cancer for a third time

Hugh Jackman has been treated for skin cancer for a third time

Last night, Hugh Jackman tweeted: “Sunscreen” with a picture reference to Baz Luhrmann’s 1998 song Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen.

Hugh Jackman first revealed he was diagnosed with BCC in November, when he posted a picture of himself online after a similar procedure.

At the time, the actor said his prognosis was good and pleaded with fans to stay protected from the sun.

He then had more cancerous cells removed in May.

Hugh Jackman has recently said he believes he’ll have many many more scares but claims it’s the most “minor” of all the skin cancers.

His wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, first persuaded him to get the mark on his nose checked by a doctor.

Surgery is the main treatment for BCC. If left untreated, it doesn’t usually spread to other parts of the body, but it can damage or disfigure surrounding tissue.

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James Rebhorn, known for his roles in TV series Homeland and Scent of a Woman movie, has died from skin cancer at the age of 65.

James Rebhorn died at his home in South Orange, New Jersey, his agent Dianne Busch said.

The actor’s career spanned five decades and saw him appear in TV shows including The Good Wife and 30 Rock and films such as Meet the Parents, My Cousin Vinny, Carlito’s Way and Basic Instinct.

Diagnosed with melanoma in 1992, James Rebhorn continued working until last month.

Diagnosed with melanoma in 1992, James Rebhorn continued working until last month

Diagnosed with melanoma in 1992, James Rebhorn continued working until last month

James Rebhorn’s agent told The Hollywood Reporter: “He fought it all this time.

“He died [on] Friday afternoon at his home in New Jersey, where he had been receiving hospice care for a week and a half.”

James Rebhorn had more than 100 screen credits, one of the most recent being for Homeland, in which he played Frank Mathison, the father of Claire Danes’ CIA officer Carrie Mathison.

His films included The Talented Mr. Ripley, in which he played a shipping magnate.

James Rebhorn is survived by his wife Rebecca Linn and two daughters.

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Vinnie Jones revealed he has had several lumps removed after being diagnosed with skin cancer.

The 48-year-old actor and footballer noticed a small blemish below his eye in February, thinking it was “a blackhead or a wart”.

A check-up revealed it was melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, which kills 1,300 men and 900 women every year.

Doctors have since found more tumors, but Vinnie Jones told The Sun he would fight it with “everything I’ve got”.

“When the doctor said I had skin cancer, the first thing I thought was <<how long have I got?>>” Vinnie Jones told the newspaper.

“It’s weighing very heavily on me all the time,” he said.

Malignant Melanoma is largely preventable by avoiding strong sunlight and using high-factor sun creams.

Vinnie Jones revealed he has had several lumps removed after being diagnosed with skin cancer

Vinnie Jones revealed he has had several lumps removed after being diagnosed with skin cancer

Treatment is more likely to be successful if melanoma is spotted early.

Vinnie Jones said that, subsequent to the removal of the tumor under his eye, doctors had found more cancer in the same area and, two months ago, he had a third operation to remove a tumor from the back of his head.

He blamed his outdoor lifestyle for the cancer – noting that after growing up on the football pitch, he had moved to Los Angeles to pursue a film career.

Now working with the Melanoma Research Foundation, Vinnie Jones urged people to be more aware of exposure to the sun.

“Footballers never put on sunblock and they should all be wearing it,” he said.

“Kids should all be wearing it every time they play sport.”

“If you spot something on your skin that doesn’t feel right… get it checked out immediately.”

Vinnie Jones also revealed his wife Tanya had been fighting skin cancer, a result of drugs she had been taking since having a heart transplant 26 years ago.

The star, who has appeared in films including X-Men: The Last Stand and Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, was previously captain of the Welsh Football Team and played for Wimbledon, Chelsea and QPR, among others.

Vinnie Jones’ revelation comes days after fellow actor Hugh Jackman disclosed he had been treated for skin cancer.

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Hugh Jackman revealed he has been treated for skin cancer after seeking advice for a mark on his nose.

Hugh Jackman, 45, posted an image of his face with a bandage on his nose on his Instagram account and wrote: “Please don’t be foolish like me. Get yourself checked. And USE sunscreen!!!”

The actor said he had been diagnosed with basal cell carcinoma (BCC).

BCC usually develops on skin exposed to the sun, and accounts for about 75% of skin cancers.

Hugh Jackman revealed he has been treated for skin cancer after seeking advice for a mark on his nose

Hugh Jackman revealed he has been treated for skin cancer after seeking advice for a mark on his nose

Hugh Jackman, who was nominated for an Oscar last year for his performance as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables, said his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, had told him to seek medical advice.

“Deb said to get the mark on my nose checked. Boy, was she right!”

Hugh Jackman did not say when he was diagnosed or what treatment he received, but said that anyone with concerns should seek medical advice.

BCC produces cancerous cells on the surface of the skin. Surgery is the main treatment. If left untreated, it rarely spreads to other parts of the body, but it can damage or disfigure surrounding tissue.

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British researchers have found that melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, is able to fend off the body’s immune system.

Analysis of tumor and blood samples shows that melanoma knocks out the body’s best immune defence.

A potential test could work out which patients are likely to respond to treatment, the Journal of Clinical Investigation reports.

Cancer Research UK said the body’s response was a “complex puzzle”.

Previous work from the team at King’s College London showed that while patients with melanoma produced antibodies that could attack tumor cells, the immune system often seemed powerless to stop the cancer progressing.

But in the latest research they discovered that the subtype of antibody attracted by the melanoma cells was the most ineffective at mounting the right sort of response.

In samples from 80 melanoma patients researchers say that the conditions created by the tumor attract IgG4 antibodies, which mount the weakest response and in turn interfere with any “strong” IgG1 antibodies that might be present.

By mimicking the conditions created by melanomas, they showed that in the presence of tumor cells, the immune system sent out IgG4 antibodies, but when faced with healthy cells it functioned as expected with IgG1 circulating.

They also confirmed that IgG4 was ineffective in launching an immune attack against cancer cells.

Melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, is able to fend off the body's immune system

Melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer, is able to fend off the body’s immune system

In additional tests in 33 patients, they found that those with higher levels of the weak antibody IgG4 had a less favorable prognosis compared with those with levels nearer to normal.

Study author Dr. Sophie Karagiannis said: “This work bears important implications for future therapies since not only are IgG4 antibodies ineffective in activating immune cells to kill tumors but they also work by blocking antibodies from killing tumor cells.”

She said not only was IgG4 stopping the patient’s more powerful antibodies from eradicating cancer, but it could also explain why some treatments based on boosting the immune response may be less effective in some patients.

Co-author Prof. Frank Nestle said more work was needed on developing IgG4 as a potential test to improve patient care by helping to identify patients most likely to respond to treatments.

“This study can also inform the rational design of novel strategies to counteract IgG4 actions,” he added.

Dr. Kat Arney, science communications manager at Cancer Research UK, said: “There’s a lot we don’t yet understand about how our immune system recognizes and responds to cancer, so we’re pleased to have supported this new research that’s helping to solve such a complex puzzle.

“This work is still at an early stage, but it’s a step towards developing more effective treatments for skin cancer and potentially other types of cancer in the future.”