Better melanoma treatments on the way

In-vitro treated versus untreated melanoma cells

In-vitro untreated (A) versus treated (B) melanoma cells

Melanoma affects about 12,000 Australians every year. But new research by Centenary’s Dr Nikolas Haass, Nethia Mohana-Kumaran and their colleagues published today in Clinical Cancer Research is showing promising results for more effective treatments.

They have found that, in the test tube, melanomas can be made 100 times more sensitive to new anti-cancer drugs by using them in combination with another drug that stimulates certain parts of the tumour cells to self-destruct.

The images above show in-vitro 3D melanoma cells untreated (A) and treated with a new drug (B). The untreated tumour (A) has grown larger, more of its cells have spread (the green dots outside the tumour) and its cells are in better condition (brighter green). The treated tumour (B) has not grown, fewer cells have spread (or invaded) and the cells are not as bright.

Nikolas and his team are now finding ways to optimise this combination therapy in preclinical trials with the aim to treat patients in the future. If successful, this treatment could be extended to other cancers.

To find out more about melanoma, please click here.