Beauty Forum Feb23 - Flipbook - Page 28
New Advances in
New biomarkers to improve skin cancer detection
and avoid delays in treatment are being developed
by researchers at the University of South Australia.
Thousands of skin lesions are misdiagnosed each year, delaying
treatment, and putting lives at risk, says UniSA PhD candidate
Giang Lam in a new paper published in Molecular Diagnosis and
“Melanomas exhibit a wide range of sizes, shapes and growth,
which can resemble numerous benign and other malignant skin
lesions,” Giang says.
“It can make accurate detection difficult, even for expert
dermatologists and pathologists. The current markers used in
clinical practice to identify cancerous cells and distinguish them
from normal cells are not always sensitive or specific. Melanomas
are sometimes missed, and this can have fatal consequences.”
Giang, and supervisor Dr Jessica Logan, a Research Fellow in
UniSA’s Clinical and Health Sciences unit, are identifying new
detection methods based on abnormal markers in the endosomal
system, which flags melanoma growth.
“With melanomas, this system is hyper-activated and plays an
important part in initiating melanomas and encouraging their
growth. By developing markers that can label these cells in a
dark brown colour, it will allow pathologists to be 100 per cent
Melanoma accounts for most skin cancer-related mortalities
globally, responsible for almost 325,000 cases in 2020 and more
than 57,000 deaths. Australia has the highest incidence of skin
cancer in the world, recording an average of four deaths each day.
“Our research at UniSA is primarily focused on developing more
effective biomarkers for melanoma but also understanding how the
disease progresses and the multiple causes,” Dr Logan says.
“The sun and subsequent UV damage are mainly responsible for
causing skin cancer, so wearing sunscreen and getting regular skin
checks is a must, but genetics also plays a role. If some of your
family members have skin cancer, you also have a higher chance
of getting the disease.”
The researchers hope to progress to biomarker clinical trials within
the next few years.