Innovations in the fight against skin cancer

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Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in New Zealand, with an estimated 67,000 cases treated each year. Indeed, New Zealand and Australia have the world’s highest rates of melanoma, the most lethal form of cancer. According to the Sun Smart health promotion agency, melanoma claims the same number of New Zealanders each year as those who die in car accidents, and it is the fourth most common cancer in New Zealand. In today’s post we look at two innovations, one in melanoma treatment and the other in skin cancer prevention.

Virotherapy towards a cure An international research team has found a way to use a genetically engineered version of the herpes virus (the virus responsible for cold sores) as a treatment for aggressive melanoma. The treatment, an example of “virotherapy”, is still pending license. However, the trial results are promising: Over 400 patients from the US, the UK, Canada and South Africa 1 in 4 patients responded to treatment 16% still in remission after 6 months 10% in “complete remission” (no trace of remaining cancer) The study, the largest randomised trial of its kind, is the first time a virus has been used to treat melanoma and, Read more