PHOENIX (KSAZ) – In a recent study, a group of researchers tested a new cancer vaccine against melanoma.

Melanoma is the deadliest type of skin cancer out there. According to the American Cancer Society, more than 9,000 people die each year from the disease. Researchers at the Scripps Research Institute of California and the Southwestern Medical Center at the University of Texas have conducted a drug discovery with over 100,000 compounds.

Through testing, they found one that stimulated the immune system in mice.

"It hits a protein on the surface of these cells, which is traditionally there for infections," said Steven Albert Johnston with the Biodesign Center for Innovations in Medicine. "So, if you get an infection and it stimulates that receptor on the cell, it tells the cells that something stranger out there is responding to us, and boosting the immune system."

The adjuvant compound, called diprovocim, was tested in conjunction with the cancer immunotherapeutic anti-Pd-L1 and another compound. The test showed a 100% success rate in the treatment of melanoma in mice.

"There is now a great deal of interest in taking these checkpoint inhibitors, which revolutionize the revolution in treating cancer, like Pd1, and combine it with something else," said Johnston.

But it will take some time to see how this new cancer vaccine can affect people, but there is another step in the right direction as Johnston and his team at ASU are working to get a diagnosis for the early detection of melanoma from blood.

"We collected samples from a large study of women who had a very early diagnosis of melanoma, but the blood samples were up to two years before they were diagnosed, so we're trying to figure out how far we can go." said Johnston. "It was six months before they were diagnosed, so we have no trouble finding they had melamona."



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