News / Asia

Australian Researchers Use DNA to Aid Skin Cancer Research

Lunch-time runners with their shirts off in the heat of the day pass through the old Botanical Gardens gates near the Sydney Opera House. Health authorities in Australia have appealed for a sense of vanity in an attempt to scare them into being more sun s
Lunch-time runners with their shirts off in the heat of the day pass through the old Botanical Gardens gates near the Sydney Opera House. Health authorities in Australia have appealed for a sense of vanity in an attempt to scare them into being more sun s

Australian researchers are set to begin a multimillion dollar project to try to unlock the genetic secrets of melanoma.  The incidence of the potentially fatal form of skin cancer has increased across the globe in recent years.  But it is more common in Australia than anywhere else.  Each year there are 100,000 new cases and 1,200 deaths. 

Researchers at the Melanoma Institute of Australia are looking for a cure for the deadly form of cancer by finding its genetic weak spot.  The objective is to identify the most dangerous genetic mutations and determine which patients are most at risk of aggressive forms of the disease.   

The Institute’s co-director of research, Graham Mann, says researchers plan to map the DNA profile of tens of thousands of tissue specimens.  

“We and others have just decided that we have to end this phase of research as quickly as possible.  We have to know what are all the mutations that are driving melanoma so we can get on with the job of sifting out the ones that can be targeted, the ones that are important prognostically.  We cannot afford to let this drag on for five or 10 or 15 years just dithering around," Mann said. "The technology is there now for us to do this that is basically genome sequencing technology - same as for the human genome project.”     

Genetic research over the past forty years has helped develop a new generation of drugs that are still in the clinical testing phase.

Dr. Georgina Long, an oncologist at the Melanoma Institute in Sydney, is optimistic that these treatments, which target genetic mutations, will be able to slow down the spread of skin cancer.

“One that we are particularly interested in or [a] class of drugs we’ve been working on are something called BRAF inhibitors, which is a mutation in the melanoma not in the person but in their melanoma," she explained. "And at looking how drugs that target that mutation can stop the melanoma from growing and can prolong patients’ survival.”  

At the moment melanoma cells are highly unpredictable.  Without surgery, they can grow and divide very quickly.

Melanoma affects more young Australians than any other form of cancer.

Public health media campaigns present powerful messages about the dangers of over exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, the main cause of this type of skin cancer.  But more cases are appearing each year.

Melanoma is increasing around the world, including Europe, the Middle East and China.  The majority of cases are treated successfully with surgery.  But those patients with more advanced and aggressive melanoma should benefit most from Australia’s genetic research.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

Ali Regained Title in Historic Fight 40 Years Ago

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid