Hoping a potential melanoma breakthrough could save thousands of lives

Scientists believe they are on the verge of a breakthrough in melanoma that could save thousands of lives.

Adelaide Researchers are developing a new treatment that aims to eradicate dangerous cancer cells with a simple injection.

Melanoma patient Ian Dempster hoped emergency surgery would be the quick fix.

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Melanoma patient Ian Dempster hoped emergency surgery would be the quick fix.
(New)

“It looked good for a while. The prognosis was that they had everything. But as it turns out, that wasn’t the case,” he said.

Over the next eight years, Adelaide’s grandfather required almost every treatment imaginable, from radiation therapy to dozens of IVs and more disfiguring surgeries.

He is now in remission.

But there is hope that a lab at the University of South Australia could make treating patients like Dempster a lot less painful and a lot more effective.

Researchers have found that the most aggressive melanoma cells contain a protein known as desmoglein-2.

Melanoma patient Ian Dempster hoped emergency surgery would be the quick fix.
Professor Claudine Bonder said researchers have found that the most aggressive melanoma cells contain a protein known as DESMOGLEIN-2. (New)

They believe that if they can attack this protein, they can disarm these cancer cells.

Professor Claudine Bonder from the University of South Australia described how it works.

“Research has shown that when we target desmoglein-2 to melanoma cells, cancer cells are less likely to survive,” she said.

“They will be like a homing missile that can be injected into the blood.

“We hope to save one to three Australians every day.

“And the great thing is that it’s not just limited to melanoma, so the advances we’re making here will be important for other types of cancer as well.”

They are now working on a treatment that will inject patients with nanoparticles programmed to find the protein.

Researchers hope this treatment will be ready within five to 10 years, potentially saving the lives of thousands of Australians.

The university is now seeking funding from government and private donors to continue its research.

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