Melanoma cell growth may be prevented by white blood cells that protect the lungs, according to findings published in the journal Cancer Research.
In order for cancerous cells to travel throughout the body, they undergo metastasis or detach from the original tumor and spread throughout the blood system.
During a recent study, researchers injected human melanoma cells into a mouse, and then for 24 hours they monitored how the cancerous cells spread to the lungs. As a result, only a few cells were discovered in the lungs.
The cancer then transferred into the immune system, specifically white blood cells that control the development of lung metastasis. However, these white blood cells increased protection of cancer development in the lungs by three times.
Gavin Roberston, lead author of the study, stated that because melanoma is the most aggressive form of skin cancer, discovering cells that “regulate metastasis is important for developing drugs to treat this disease.”
Last year, an estimated 68,720 people were diagnosed with melanoma, and approximately 8,650 of these cases resulted in death, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.