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Medicine Science

Patch Makes Certain Skin Cancers Disappear 90

kkleiner writes "What if treating skin cancer was just a matter of wearing a patch for a few hours? At this year's Society of Nuclear Medicine's Annual Meeting one group of researchers presented such a patch. The patch is infused with phosphorus-32, a radioactive isotope used to treat some types of cancer. In a study of 10 patients with basal cell carcinoma located on their faces, the patch was applied for three hours, then for another three hours four and seven days later. Six months after treatment, 8 of the patients were cancer free."
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Patch Makes Certain Skin Cancers Disappear

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  • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @11:43PM (#40394271)

    Radiation differentially kills rapidly dividing cells more than non-dividing cells. Hence it is a poison that affects cancer cells more than normal cells.

  • Proof of concept (Score:5, Informative)

    by chooks ( 71012 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @11:59PM (#40394361)

    Basal cell carcinomas are locally invasive but do not metastasize. Excision with negative margins is curative. Where I can see this beneficial is with larger tumors that are more difficult to resect without severe disfigurement, or as neoadjuvant therapy to shrink tumor size prior to surgery (as is done with other tumors in other body locations).

    However, unnecessary radiation to the head and neck has historically proven to cause more harm than good (e.g. treatment of acne with x-rays which then was linked to papillary thyroid carcinoma). So...not sure how I excited I would be personally to do this without getting more data.

  • by rasmusbr ( 2186518 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @12:35AM (#40394543)

    Basal cell is one of the least malignant forms of cancer there is and mostly occurs in old people, so it's not like it's going to save a ton of lives.

    In fact, I bet one of the reasons why this treatment would make sense is that there is typically no rush to cure the tumor and then you might as well try a non-intrusive treatment like a patch first and only go for surgery if the patch doesn't kill the cancer.

  • Re:Proof of concept (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 21, 2012 @01:30AM (#40394825)

    It also doesn't empower people from posting stupid things on Slashdot.... []

    P-32 is *injected* into people! Placed on skin at a tumor site it is very target specific, with minimal collateral damage. Clearly, the course of action is it damages cells resulting in local inflammation and immune system cleaning up the remains, including the damaged tumor (not all tumor cells need to be damaged for the resulting body reaction to kill it).

    This belief that radiation magically causes specific changes resulting in malignant cancers is stupid beyond belief. Radiation is a *neutral* ionizing agent - chance it causes specific mutations is very small.

    If you want to worry about specific mutations causing cancer, worry about the crap you are breathing and eating that has nothing to do with radiation. Chemicals we have everywhere (including sprayed on food) are much more potent carcinogens than low level radiation or a tiny spot-beta emitter patch.

    If you want to talk about danger of P-32, that danger is to the people that administer it to patients. In comparison, they get much higher dose over the course of their jobs.

  • Re:And as usual... (Score:4, Informative)

    by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Thursday June 21, 2012 @01:45AM (#40394891)

    Basal cell cancinoma [] is not life-threatening. The rest of your post is irrelevant.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 21, 2012 @05:04AM (#40395829)

    Basal cell is one of the least malignant forms of cancer there is and mostly occurs in old people, so it's not like it's going to save a ton of lives.

    and yet it is what killed my grandfather, so I'm sure for the lives it does save (or extend) the patients will be appreciative.

Testing can show the presense of bugs, but not their absence. -- Dijkstra