Updated: Sunday, 12th July 2020 @ 9:02am

Fishy business: Sea creature cells provide breakthrough in fight against skin cancer, say Manchester University

Fishy business: Sea creature cells provide breakthrough in fight against skin cancer, say Manchester University

| By Josh Dyson

Fish cells have provided a breakthrough in the fight against skin cancer according to scientists from the University of Manchester.

The research, conducted on see-through zebra fish, could lead to new drugs being made to battle Melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancers.

At present more than 13,000 people each year are diagnosed with the deadly disease and the incidence rates of malignant melanoma have increased more than fivefold since the mid 1970’s.

Professor Richard Marais, director of the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, said: “Malignant melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer precisely because it spreads quickly and aggressively.

“This kind of research is vital for establishing how this horrible disease spreads around the body and how we might be able to stop it.”

Cancer Research UK scientists at the university found that some melanoma cells are particularly fast growing, but not very good at invading the surrounding tissue.

However, the faster growing cells ’piggy-back’ along with the more invasive cells, so together they can be more effective in establishing a new tumour once they have reached different parts of the body.

Dr Claudia Wellbrock, a Cancer Research UK scientist at The University of Manchester, said: “We used to think that cancer cells spread by first specialising in invading other parts of the body and then change in order to grow rapidly.

"This research shows that melanoma can spread by co-operative invasion.

“Different types of cancer cells with different strengths and weaknesses are both present in the tumour at the same time and can work together to spread faster and more efficiently.

"This has profound implications for how we find cures for this terrible disease.”

Images courtesy of Novartis AG and Bernat Arlandis, with thanks