More than 300 people die each year in Chile due to skin cancer and immunotherapy has been incorporated as the right option which can reduce the intensity of clinical complications of up to 80%, including metastatic spread, and significantly increase Survival
In this South American country, which has a population of 17.2 million, skin cancer is the third most common, and it increased by 20% in comparison between 2010 and 2015.
Chilean experts have explained Efe that there are several types of skin cancer, but the type
, although they are less frequent (1-4%), are most aggressive, and those who make the most death (75%).
Melanoma – the most aggressive type of skin cancer – is a malignant tumor originating from melanocytes, which are cells that are part of the epidermis, the upper layer of the skin, and the epithelium of the mucous membranes.
They originate from a variety of causes, such as excessive exposure to sunlight in childhood and adolescents, which may later change the DNA of skin cells (melanocytes) to become malignant melanomas.
"Most of the malignant melanomas detected at an early stage can be cured with surgical intervention and / or some other complementary treatment, but in fact, approximately 90-95% of cases have a good prognosis at 5 years (melanoma in situ)." said the pathologist and molecular oncologist dr. Ramón Gutiérrez.
However, Gutierrez, executive director of the ReCell Clinical Center, said that advanced melanomas are more difficult to cure because they usually spread, attack adjacent tissues and involve vital organs and distant sites in tissue of origin that occur so-called metastases that can endanger the bones , liver, lungs or kidney, among others.
"In these cases, if the malignant cells have already been attacked by the basal lamina, it is possible for them to enter the lymphovascular formations through which they are distributed remotely and cause a secondary commitment called metastasis, which seriously threatens the healing possibilities and survival expectations with only 16 % survival after 5 years, "he said.
However, research lines of immunotherapy for cancer similar to melanoma have progressed significantly in recent years and there are currently treatments that can stimulate the patient's immune system, identify and destroy tumor cells, and give new hope to patients
"These treatments are targeted against specific tumor cells, thus avoiding damage to other tissues of the body, including the same immune system that significantly reduces discomfort and complications because it does not attack the healthy body tissue and even if the Immune system is accustomed to treatment, it can continue to work against the tumor as a "memory", which makes it possible to prolong survival, "he added.
The ReCell Clinical Center in Chile is implementing the third generation of dendritic cell immunotherapy, which is the most complete version of the same "technique" that won the Nobel Prize in 2011 and the progress of which was won by Nobel 2018 in early October.
It is one of the most customized and specific protocols that exist as it is prepared for each patient, with samples of their tumor and blood cells, which are then programmed into the laboratory and re-inserted into an individual on an outpatient basis.
In malignant melanomas, immunotherapy helps to improve the overall survival of the cases involved, which is an important complement to the results obtained in other types of treatment.
"In fact, we had cases whose life expectancy was four to six months, and after treatment with the immunotherapy of dendritic cells from tumor biopsy, they achieved survival that exceeded two and a half years with good quality of life," said the pathologist and molecular oncologist.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 3.5 million cases of skin cancer are detected every year in the world, and die on average every hour as a direct or indirect consequence of a kind of illness associated with exposure to the sun.