MU researchers devised new weapon to fight against skin cancer

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COLUMBIA - Researchers at the University of Missouri just found a new weapon to fight against skin cancer. 

For years, researchers have devised a new microscopic technique to detect and analyze single melanoma cells that are more representative of the skin cancers developed by most patients. 

According to a report published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, the new techniques is defined that could lead to better and faster diagnoses for the life-threatening disease. 

 "For many years when we talk about cancer, we assume that all the cancers are very similar, at least for the same type of cancer, " Dr. Luis Polo-Parada, an associate professor of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology and an investigator at Mizzou's Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center, said. "But when you look carefully for every single cell, it looks different."

Polo-Parada said after studying samples of melanoma cells, they found melanomas don't always come in the same shape and hue; normally, melanomas are dark and irregular and look similar, which make them difficult to identify. 

"We modified microscope to be able to identify at the level of single cells and we report all of these variabilities that are present normally in this particular case in melanoma and other cancers," he said. 

According to a news release, using the modified system, human melanoma and breast cancers as well as mouse melanoma cells were diagnosed with greater ease and efficiency. 

Polo-Parada said in a news release that as melanoma cells divided and distribute themselves throughout the blood, they can cause melanomas to metastasize.

"This method could help medical doctors and pathologists to detect cancers as they spread, becoming one of the tools in the fight against this fatal disease, " he said.