Texas and Israel: Both “Lone Star” States in the Fight Against Skin Cancer

August 7, 2017

As Texas and Israel both economically overlap in the area of biomedicine, it should not come to much of a surprise that both states are using their respective resources to develop treatments and discover cures for skin cancer, melanoma in particular.

 

Unbeknownst to most people, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one out of every five Americans will have skin cancer in his or her lifetime. Further, melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer that fortunately only accounts for 1% of all skin cancer cases. Despite this seemingly minuscule amount of cases, if melanoma is left unchecked and spreads to lymph nodes and organs, an individual’s chances of survival dramatically decrease.

 

Research by Israeli scientists, however, is aiming to discover ways into blocking melanoma cells from migrating to organs. In fact, in the pursuit of blocking cancer cells from reaching organs, Dr. Cyrille Cohn, head of the tumor immunology and immunotherapy lab at Israel’s Bar Ilan University, is testing a method referred to as immunotherapy-- which encompasses using the body’s natural defense system to fight cancer cells. Accordingly, Dr. Cohn’s method experiments how to strengthen and wire certain T-cells to recognize and fight off different forms of cancer cells when they encounter them. This will thus strike at the heart of the problem by preventing cells from ever having the potential of migrating to organs from the outset.

 

Interestingly, in Texas, The Ben Love/El Paso Corporation Melanoma and Skin Center in Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center is also testing treatments incorporating immunotherapy to fight of melanoma cells. In fact, MD Anderson’s program, Melanoma Moon Shot, has developed a new type of immunotherapy treatment referred to as ipilimumab, which also uses the body’s defense system, but to target and find and destroy melanoma cells specifically.

 

Overall, as researchers from both “Lone Star” states continue to pursue discovery into cures for melanoma and other types of cancers, they should also consider ways to collaborate to both benefit from shared research insights and funding.

 

Sources:

  • Article of Israeli Skin Cancer Breakthrough Including Statistics:  http://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-scientists-offer-rays-of-hope-in-fight-against-skin-cancer/

  • Info. about MD Anderson’s Melanoma and Skin Cancer Center: https://www.mdanderson.org/patients-family/diagnosis-treatment/care-centers-clinics/melanoma-skin-center.html

 

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