Outwitting skin cancer

Scientists are trying to defeat skin cancer by examining each cell individually. This should help understand how melanomas develop resistance to therapy.

Every year, around 2,500 people in Switzerland develop melanoma, an aggressive skin cancer that, if not treated, can spread quickly and attack other organs.

The cancerous cells are remarkably clever. A tumor does not consist of just one type of cell, but many different cells of different origins and at different stages in their evolution. Some of them develop resistance to drugs, limiting treatment efficacy.

The medical oncologist and bioinformatician Olivier Michielin at the University Hospital of Lausanne aims to discover strategies to defeat metastatic melanomas. With current treatment methods, 20 percent of patients remain free of symptoms for at least ten years. "We’re working on raising this rate over the years to come. With current research projects, we can expect to reach 50 percent, and to increase this number even further in the future" says Michielin.

Contact: Olivier Michielin, Olivier.Michielin(at)chuv.ch, +41 21 692 40 53

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