Israeli scientists have identified the way in which the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma, spreads through the body, a breakthrough they hope will lead to the development of cancer-treating drugs in the future.
Dr. Carmit Levy, the lead researcher at the human molecular genetics and biochemistry department of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine, said: “The threat of melanoma is not in the initial tumour that appears on the skin, but rather in its metastasis – in the cancer cells sent off to colonise in vital organs like the brain, lungs, liver and bones”.
She added: “We have discovered how the cancer spreads to distant organs and found ways to stop the process before the metastatic stage”.
Dr Levy said that the discovery was an important step in finding the cure for the disease: “Our study is an important step on the road to a full remedy for the deadliest skin cancer. We hope that our findings will help turn melanoma into a non-threatening, easily curable disease”.
The researchers collaborated with scientists at two Israeli hospitals – the Sheba Medical Centre in Ramat Gan and the Wolfson Medical Centre in Holon – as well as the German Cancer Research Centre in Heidelberg.