A team of Australian scientists have successfully tested a new procedure which attacks deadly forms of cancer in its early stages and stops it from spreading.
The trial conducted by investigators at the Melanoma Institute of Australia successfully prevented the spreading of stage three melanomas.
Before the trial, these patients faced a 40-70 per cent chance of progressing to advanced and fatal melanoma.
Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, with one Australian dying from advanced melanoma every five hours.
Author of the study and Medical Director of Melanoma Institute of Australia, Professor Georgina Long, said the study changes how melanoma is treated and the patients’ quality of life.
“Until now, Stage III melanoma patients who have had their tumours surgically removed have simply had to play the waiting game, to see if their melanoma would metastasise or spread, living with such fear severely affected them and their loved ones,” she said.
“Results from these clinical trials suggest we can stop the disease in its tracks, effectively preventing it from spreading and saving lives.”
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The clinical trials are a world first and aim to prevent the spread and recurrence of the disease through immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy is a type of cancer treatment which boosts the body’s natural defences to fight the disease, it uses substances made by the body or in a laboratory to improve or restore immune system function.
“These clinical trials show we now have ammunition to prevent melanoma spreading and progressing, which until now was a critical area of disease behaviour where we had no control,” Professor Long said.
“This will change how melanoma is treated around the world, as we no longer have to passively wait to see if the melanoma spreads.”