Melanoma Treatment Found to Also Aid Wound Healing
A new treatment for melanoma has implications for wound healing.
As the Mayo Clinic explained, melanoma is a form of cancer that attacks melanocytes, or the cells in your skin responsible for its color. From the skin, the cancer can worsen and move into your internal organs. The American Cancer Society predicted 76,380 new cases of melanoma would be diagnosed in 2016 alone, and that 10,130 people would die of the disease that same year.
There are already several promising treatments for melanoma, according to the American Cancer Society, namely solutions like immunotherapy and specialized vaccines. One such therapy is not only proving to be effective in combating melanoma, it has one other important side benefit: aiding wound healing.
A massive boom
In a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, researchers have found that BRAF inhibitors can actually speed up wound healing. According to American Cancer Society, these drugs work by interfering with the melanoma cells on a genetic level, preventing these tumors from growing. As the research team later discovered, this set off a chain reaction within other skin cells called the paradoxical MAPK activation.
In an accompanying press release, senior author Dr. Antoni Ribas, who heads the UCLA Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center Tumor Immunology Program, explained that this MAPK process works by helping those cells responsible for rebuilding the outer epidermal layer. It’s this restored barrier, the UCLA team explained, that is important to bolster wound care.
The scientists ran several trials with a BRAF inhibitor called vemurafenib, and it greatly improved wound healing in a number of different kinds of wounds and related injuries. In the immediate future, the UCLA researchers will continue their research with the aim of creating topical BRAF treatments down the road.
Lead author Helena Escuin-Ordinas explained that the work with BRAF inhibitors would be a huge gain in terms of wound care. This is especially significant when it comes to managing chronic wounds, which affect over 6.5 million Americans, per figures from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Finding a cure for acute and chronic wounds remains a worldwide challenge,” she said. “Topical BRAF inhibitors hold great promise to promote skin recovery, not only after injury such as from abrasions, ulcers or surgery, but in skin-related side effects that result from treatment for a wide variety of diseases, such as cancer and diabetes, where current therapies are not highly effective.”
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