Nanomedicine involves smaller particles, yet their capabilities are tremendous, playing a more significant part in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
Fremont, CA: Nanomedicine uses particles and technology that is one-billionth of a meter in medicine for diagnosis and treatment of disease. Irrespective of their smaller size, these nanoparticles play a significant role in the medical field. According to cancer.net, nearly 96,480 cases of invasive melanoma of the skin will be diagnosed in 2019 in the US. Even though it is not the most common type of skin cancer, an estimation of 7,230 deaths will occur this year. In recent research, nanomedicine has been employed to help with improving detection, prevention and treatment of a severe form of skin cancer, melanoma.
The disease begins in the melanocytes, which are the cells responsible for the synthesis of a dark pigment called melanin. And when the skin is exposed to the sun for a long time, melanocytes start producing more pigment as a protective response causing the skin to darken more. When these cells grow out of control, it can result in melanoma.
Tel Aviv researchers have developed a nano-vaccine for melanoma. The vaccine was tested in mice, and it turned out to be useful as it prevents the development of melanoma. It also treats both primary tumors and disease that has spread throughout the body. It was observed by administering with immunotherapy that activates the immune system to fight against the foreign cells. Meanwhile, these cells learn to identify the melanoma cells and will start attacking cells of this specific cancer.
The researchers also examined the vaccine in different conditions. They injected the vaccine into healthy mice and then placed the melanoma cells in the mice where the vaccine halted the development of the disease. In another scenario, the vaccine and immunotherapy together were used to treat the mice already infected by melanoma. Here a significant delay in the progression of the disease was observed. Also, peptides which are the short amino acid chains used in the vaccine were present in the samples of melanoma tissue from different sites in the mice's body other than the one where melanoma had been injected initially. This proves that the vaccine is also suitable for patients affected severely for whom melanoma has spread beyond the primary site.