[5 min read] Unique to Australia: Decline in melanoma mortality

Assessment of trends of melanoma incidence and mortality in Australia reveals a recent plateauing and reduction in melanoma age-standardised mortality1, which is unique to Australia (see figure 1). Continue reading “[5 min read] Unique to Australia: Decline in melanoma mortality”

[4 min read] Personalised nanovaccines for melanoma

A study has found that personalised nanovaccines are safe, well tolerated, and have an effect in melanoma.
Porous silicon and adenovirus-based bio-hybrid nanovaccines were developed in a study carried out at the University of Helsinki, providing new insights on the structure and efficacy of these systems as therapeutic cancer nanovaccines.
Immunotherapy is revolutionising cancer treatment, achieving durable and long-term responses in patients. However, due to immunotherapeutic resistance, only some patients experience a positive outcome. Combinations of immunotherapeutics can overcome the drug resistance, so the administration of a cancer vaccine or an oncolytic virus followed by immune antibodies is under investigation.
Nevertheless, there is an unmet need for powerful, safe vaccines. Nanoparticles, in particular porous silicon nanoparticles, present ideal characteristics to formulate nanovaccines, as a result of their size-specific targeting to the lymphoid organs, to their intrinsic adjuvant effect, and to the possibility to simultaneously load adjuvants and antigens.
M.Sc. Pharma Flavia Fontana describes in her doctoral thesis the development of nanovaccines from the materials to the pre-clinical proof of concept trials.
Fontana developed a bio-hybrid multistage nanovaccine formulation and evaluated its anti-cancer efficacy in murine tumour models. Fontana’s study shows that the treatment could stimulate the immune system of the mice and control melanoma tumours alone or when combined with antibodies, which are the present standard treatment. Fontana proposed bio-hybrid cell membrane technology as an innovative antigenic source.
The personalised nanovaccines described in Fontana’s thesis are safe and well tolerated. The core particle will be the same for all patients, while the cell membrane wrapping will change for each patient because it will derive from parts of their tumour biopsy.
The future developments of the nanovaccines will take them closer to the clinics by evaluating the feasibility of the approach with real patient tumours.

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Read more recent research.

Source: Fontana F., 2019. Biohybrid Cloaked Nanovaccines for Immunotherapy. Dissertationes Scholae Doctoralis Ad Sanitatem Investigandam Universitatis Helsinkiensis, 47/2019, pp.78. ISBN 987-951-51-5286-2 (Paperback), ISBN 978-951-51-5287-9 (PDF, http://ethesis.helsinki.fi), ISSN 2342-316

[5 min read] How gene variations affect melanoma risk

melanoma risk

Australian scientists have identified a way to help primary care physicians determine a patient’s risk of developing melanoma.

A team at The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute uncovered the specific gene variations affecting the number and types of moles that appear on the body, and their role in causing skin cancer. Continue reading “[5 min read] How gene variations affect melanoma risk”

[4 min read] How to biopsy pigmented skin lesions

pigmented skin lesion

A recent article published in Australian Doctor warned against shave biopsies for pigmented skin lesions suspicious for melanoma. Below, Professor David Wilkinson offers guidance for the best-practice approach to biopsying these lesions in general practice. Continue reading “[4 min read] How to biopsy pigmented skin lesions”

[5 min read] Skin cancer diagnosis: Artificial intelligence and full-body photography

artificial intelligence

Digitisation has become an indispensable part of medicine, and systems like total body photography and artificial intelligence can now support doctors in some medical fields with the same precision as an expert. For example, new systems are becoming available that aid physicians in the rapid detection of new, altered and malignant moles. Continue reading “[5 min read] Skin cancer diagnosis: Artificial intelligence and full-body photography”

[4 min read] Family history of melanoma increases risk of melanoma, SCC and BCC

family history

How does a family history of melanoma affect your patients’ risk of developing melanoma and keratinocyte cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma? Continue reading “[4 min read] Family history of melanoma increases risk of melanoma, SCC and BCC”

[5 min read] Australia heading for shortfall in skin specialists

skin cancer

Skin cancer experts warn that Australia is heading for a shortfall in dermatologists – a dangerous situation for the country with the world’s highest rate of melanoma.

With over 800,000 skin cancers diagnosed in Australia each year, it is vital that we have enough doctors with knowledge in skin cancer diagnosis and treatment to meet the rising patient demand. Continue reading “[5 min read] Australia heading for shortfall in skin specialists”

[9 min read] Genetic testing motivates behaviour changes in at-risk melanoma patients

genetic causes

Would genetic testing motivate behaviour changes in patients at high risk of melanoma? Melanoma is one of the most severe types of skin cancer, with around 14,000 new cases and 2,000 deaths in Australia each year. Continue reading “[9 min read] Genetic testing motivates behaviour changes in at-risk melanoma patients”

[4 min read] Breast cancer drug may treat mucosal melanoma

mucosal melanoma

A drug typically used to treat breast cancer may also be effective in treating mucosal melanoma.

Mucosal melanoma is not linked to UV exposure and is extremely difficult to treat. It occurs on moist tissues inside the body, including the eyes, inside the mouth and nose, gastrointestinal areas and the genital tract.

Continue reading “[4 min read] Breast cancer drug may treat mucosal melanoma”

[2 min read] Accuracy of computer-aided melanoma diagnosis | Prof David Wilkinson

melanoma diagnosis

This month, I was fascinated to read a meta-analysis of the accuracy of computer-aided melanoma diagnosis, by Vincent Dick et al.
Continue reading “[2 min read] Accuracy of computer-aided melanoma diagnosis | Prof David Wilkinson”