Author Interviews, Immunotherapy, JAMA, Melanoma / 03.11.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Olivier van Not Scientific Bureau, Dutch Institute for Clinical Auditing Leiden, the Netherlands Department of Medical Oncology University Medical Centre Utrecht Utrecht, the Netherlands MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The introduction of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) has significantly improved the survival of advanced melanoma patients. Treatment with these ICIs can lead to immune-related adverse events, also known as toxicity. This toxicity is graded from 1 (mild) to 5 (fatal) and examples of these toxicities are hepatitis and colitis. Since these toxicities can be life threatening and become chronic, they require treatment with immunosuppressants such as corticosteroids or anti-TNF. In a previous study of melanoma patients treated with different types of immune checkpoint inhibitors [Verheijden et al, Clin Cancer Research 2020] we found survival to be better for patients experiencing immune-related toxicity, which is in line with many other studies in several cancer types and a recent meta-analysis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Melanoma / 22.09.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, the Director of the Cancer Biology Research Center led this study with an outstanding PhD student, Sabina Pozzi” Prof. Ronit Satchi-Fainaro, Ph.D. Head, Cancer Research and Nanomedicine Laboratory Kurt and Herman Lion Chair in Nanosciences and Nanotechnologies Director, Cancer Biology Research Center Department of Physiology and Pharmacology Sackler Faculty of Medicine Sagol School of Neuroscience Tel Aviv University, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Cutaneous melanoma is the deadliest of all skin cancers, especially due to its tendency to invade and develop metastases with an incidence of brain metastasis development of 40% to 50% in patients with melanoma stage IV (although the incidence post mortem is 70–90%). We know that the brain microenvironment represents the first line of reaction in favor or against the tumor due to its dual ability to generate an immune-stimulatory or immunosuppressive niche, which will ultimately determine the establishment and growth of melanoma brain metastasis. Among the brain-resident cells, astrocytes are responsible for the maintenance of the brain homeostasis, and subsequent to melanoma brain colonization, they sustain and foster the growth of melanoma cells (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Melanoma, University of Pittsburgh / 08.04.2022

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Laura Ferris, M.D., Ph.D. Professor of Dermatology Director of clinical trials for UPMC Department of Dermatology University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com:  What is the background for this study?  Response: In this quality initiative at UPMC (a large academic and community health system in Western PA and surrounding areas) Primary Care Physicians were trained to perform annual skin cancer screening examinations of their patients who were aged 35 years and older at routine medical visits. Over a 5-year period more than 595,000 patients who were eligible to be screened were seen by a UPMC PCP and about 24% of them were screened. We compared the number and thickness (an important indicator of prognosis) of the melanomas diagnosed in those patients who were screened to those who were not screened. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Lancet, Melanoma, Technology / 11.11.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr David Wen BM BCh NIHR Academic Clinical Fellow in Dermatology University of Oxford MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Publicly available skin image datasets are commonly used to develop machine learning (ML) algorithms for skin cancer diagnosis. These datasets are often utilised as they circumvent many of the barriers associated with large scale skin lesion image acquisition. Furthermore, publicly available datasets can be used as a benchmark for direct comparison of algorithm performance. Dataset and image metadata provide information about the disease and population upon which the algorithm was trained or validated on. This is important to know because machine learning algorithms heavily depend on the data used to train them; algorithms used for skin lesion classification frequently underperform when tested on independent datasets to which they were trained on. Detailing dataset composition is essential for extrapolating assumptions of generalisability of algorithm performance to other populations. At the time this review was conducted, the total number of publicly available datasets globally and their respective content had not previously been characterised. Therefore, we aimed to identify publicly available skin image datasets used to develop ML algorithms for skin cancer diagnosis, to categorise their data access requirements, and to systematically evaluate their characteristics including associated metadata.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Melanoma / 22.07.2021

  MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Eleonora Leucci, Ph.D Assistant Professor Laboratory for RNA Cancer Biology Department of Oncology KU Leuven   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Back in 2016, while I was characterising the RNA SAMMSON as essential for mitochondrial translation in melanoma, I noticed that its inhibition was causing cell death across a large spectrum of melanoma cell lines and models, irrespectively of their genetic background and cell state. At that time I still did not know why the effect was so pronounced on melanoma cells, but I knew that antibiotics of the tetracycline family could also block mitochondrial translation and I thought about repurposing them to treat melanoma. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Dermatology, Melanoma / 02.06.2021

MedicalResearch.com interview with: Professor Marie-Aleth Richard EADV Communications Committee Chair Professor, University Hospital of La Timone Marseille, France MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this Roundtable event? Would you describe the mission of the European Commission’s Beating Cancer Plan? Response: Europe’s Beating Cancer Plan is the first, comprehensive EU strategy on cancer, aimed at tackling the disease through all key stages: prevention; early detection; diagnosis and treatment; and quality of life of cancer patients and survivors. The Plan also aims to create opportunities to improve cancer care through research and innovative projects, such as artificial intelligence, and to promote equal access to knowledge and treatments in cancer care across Europe. The EADV seeks to create a bridge between the EU health policy agenda and scientific research, by engaging with policymakers, patient organisations and other stakeholders to support a patient centric-approach; tackling melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSC) at all stages of the pathway, from prevention to follow-up care. Through our Roundtable event, the EADV brought together these key stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness of the EBCP on preventing both melanoma and NMSC, as well as identify joint recommendations that step-up measures towards this goal. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Melanoma / 17.03.2021

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Anne Cust | PhD, Professor of Cancer Epidemiology The University of Sydney Faculty of Medicine and Health Sydney School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Are the screeners specially trained, use full body photographs, dermoscopy etc? Response: The Melanoma High-risk Clinic Study was developed to optimise the early detection of new melanomas in people at high risk of developing melanoma. A previous single-centre study observed fewer excisions and healthcare costs, thinner melanomas and better quality of life when surveillance of high risk patients was conducted in a melanoma dermatology clinic with a structured surveillance protocol involving 6-monthly full body examinations aided by total body photography (TBP) and sequential digital dermoscopy imaging (SDDI). The initial pilot study was performed in a single tertiary referral specialist centre using trained dermatologists who routinely used the diagnostic interventions. Our objective was to examine longer-term sustainability and expansion of the program to multiple practices including a primary care skin cancer clinic setting. The hypothesis was that the outcomes would be similar if using the same protocol and diagnostic tools. The participating doctors were trained to follow the protocol, which included instruction on how to respond and interpret changing lesions, but not in use of dermoscopy or skin examinations, which were routinely and consistently used in all clinics prior to the study commencing. There were 593 participants assessed as very high risk of melanoma who participated in the Melanoma High-risk Clinic Study from 2012-2018. Nearly all of the participants had had a previous melanoma and had additional melanoma risk factors. 57% were male and the median age at study entry was 58 years. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Melanoma, Prostate Cancer / 23.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Saud H AlDubayan, M.D. Instructor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School Attending Physician, Division of Genetics, Brigham and Women's Hospital Computational Biologist, Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute Associate Scientist, The Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The overall goal of this study was to assess the performance of the standard method currently used to detect germline (inhered) genetic variants in cancer patients and whether we could use recent advances in machine learning techniques to further improve the detection rate of clinically relevant genetic alterations. To investigate this possibility, we performed a head to head comparison between the current gold-standard method for germline analysis that has been universally used in clinical and research laboratories and a new deep learning analysis approach using germline genetic data of thousands of patients with prostate cancer or melanoma. This analysis showed that across all different gene sets that were tested, the deep learning-based framework was able to identify additional cancer patients with clinically relevant germline variants that went undetected by the standard method. For example, several patients in our study also had germline variants that are associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer, for which the surgical removal of the ovaries (at a certain age) is highly recommended. However, these genetic alterations were only identified by the proposed deep learning framework.     (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Genetic Research, Melanoma / 19.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Sarah I. Estrada, M.D., FCAP  Laboratory Director Affiliated Dermatology® www.affderm.com MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: As a dermatopathologist who makes diagnoses on lesions that may be melanoma, I’m faced with the reality that my accurate interpretation of biopsy tissue is key for the patient to be treated most effectively. Often histopathological evaluation is straightforward but not as often as I would like. The study presented here offers a new test that can be used in conjunction with my evaluation to determine if a questionable lesion is in fact melanoma. The test was developed to take into account the gene expression of the lesion which may factor in characteristics that I cannot visually observe. The test was validated and has shown very promising accuracy metrics. (more…)
Author Interviews, Melanoma, Vaccine Studies / 16.11.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Nina Bhardwaj MD, PhD Professor of Medicine (Hematology and Medical Oncology) and Urology Tisch Cancer Institute Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What types of cancer may be amenable to this vaccine? Response: The goal was to determine if vaccine responses could be improved by increasing special white cell numbers, namely dendritic cells, which are key for jumpstarting an immune response. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?  Response: We found that the agent flt3-L mobilized these dendritic cells which help to improve the vaccine’s ability to prime the immune system.  (more…)
Author Interviews, ESMO, Immunotherapy, Melanoma, NEJM / 03.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Reinhard Dummer, Prof. Dr. med. Stv. Klinikdirektor Universitätsspital Zürich, Dermatologische Klinik Zürich MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Based on molecular biology analysis, a substantial proportion of melanomas are driven by mutations of BRAF resulting in an ongoing growth activating signal. Based on the key role of BRAF several multiple kinase molecules have been developed in order to target this crucial pathway. These medications have shown to improve progression free survival and overall survival in advanced metastatic melanoma. Because there is a tendency for improved outcome in patients with low tumor burden, combined targeted therapy using Dabrafenib and Trametinib have been investigated in the adjuvant (after complete surgical resection) setting in stage III melanoma. And the 5 year data are now available in the New England Journal of Medicine. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Genetic Research, Immunotherapy, Melanoma, Surgical Research / 03.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Edmund K Bartlett, M.D. Department of Surgery/Division of Surgical Oncology Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center New York, New York   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Indications for adjuvant therapy for resected, high-risk melanoma is a controversial and rapidly-evolving topic in melanoma treatment. Immunotherapy treatments targeting PD-1 have significantly improved survival in advanced-stage disease, but the magnitude of survival benefit in stage III disease--particularly stage IIIA--remains unclear. Recently, 31-GEP (a gene expression profiling assay) has been studied as a risk-stratifying tool to identify patients who are at higher risk for systemic recurrence. Ideally such a tool could identify patients most likely to benefit from immunotherapy treatment in the adjuvant setting (when all visible disease has been removed). (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Melanoma, Nature, Technology / 23.06.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Professor Harald Kittler, MD ViDIR Group, Department of Dermatology Medical University of Vienna Vienna, Austria MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?  What types of skin cancers were assessed? (melanoma, SCC, Merkel etc). Response: Some researchers believe that AI will make human intelligence dispensable. It is, however, still a matter of debate how exactly AI will influence diagnostic medicine in the future. The current narrative is focused on a competition between human and artificial intelligence. We sought to shift the direction of this narrative more towards human/AI collaboration. To this end we studied the use-case of skin cancer diagnosis including the most common types of skin cancer such as melanoma, basal cell- and squamous cell carcinoma. The initial idea was to explore the effects of varied representations of AI support across different levels of clinical expertise and to address the question of how humans and machines work together as a team. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Melanoma, Technology / 17.06.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Chi Hwan Lee PhD Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering, and by Courtesy, of Materials Engineering, and Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences Purdue University  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Conventional melanoma therapiesincluding chemotherapy and radiotherapy, suffer from the toxicity and side effects of repeated treatments due to the aggressive and recurrent nature of melanoma cells. Less-invasive topical chemotherapies by utilizing miniaturized polymeric microneedles are emerged as an alternative, but the sustained, long-lasting release of drug cargos remains challenged due to the rapidly dissolving behavior of polymers (typically, within 15 min-2 hrs). In addition, the size of the microneedles is still large for small, curvilinear and sensitive areas of tissues such as cornea (for ocular melanoma). (more…)
ASCO, AstraZeneca, Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Melanoma / 13.06.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Yuanbin Chen, MD, PhD Cancer & Hematology Centers of Western Michigan MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
    • Response: The CASPIAN trial was a randomized, open-label, multi-center global Phase III trial in the first-line treatment of patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC). The trial compared IMFINZI in combination with etoposide and either carboplatin or cisplatin chemotherapy, or IMFINZI and chemotherapy with the addition of a second immunotherapy, tremelimumab, versus chemotherapy alone – the primary endpoint being overall survival (OS). After a median follow up of more than two years, the latest results for IMFINZI plus chemotherapy demonstrate a sustained and clinically meaningful OS benefit for patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer (ES-SCLC), maintaining a 25% reduction in the risk of death versus chemotherapy alone. Updated median OS was 12.9 months versus 10.5 for chemotherapy.
      • In a post-hoc analysis, 22.2% of patients treated with IMFINZI plus chemotherapy remained alive after 24 months, versus 14.4%, for chemotherapy alone.
      • Post-hoc analysis also showed that for IMFINZI plus chemotherapy, 11.0% of patients were alive and progression-free at 24 months versus 2.9% for chemotherapy alone.
      • IMFINZI plus chemotherapy maintained a high confirmed objective response rate (ORR) (68% versus 58%) and in a post-hoc analysis, duration of response (DoR) for IMFINZI at 24 months was 13.5% versus 3.9% for chemotherapy alone.
      • At 24 months, 12% of patients in the IMFINZI plus chemotherapy arm remained on IMFINZI treatment.]
(more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Melanoma, Nature / 21.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Kelly Brooks PhD Research Officer QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute     MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: There are approximately 175 new cases a year for melanomas inside the eye called uveal melanomas. These cancers spread to other sites of the body in about half of patients. Uveal melanomas are very different to skin melanomas and so far no effective treatment have been approved to treat uveal melanoma once it has spread. We sequenced uveal melanoma tumours from over 100 different patients to look at what mutations are responsible for tumour growth and development.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, Melanoma / 08.05.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Neelam A. Vashi, MD Associate Professor of Dermatology Director, Boston University Center for Ethnic Skin Director, Cosmetic and Laser Center Boston University School of Medicine and Daniela P.Sanchez BS Boston Medical Center Boston, MA 02118 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Although melanoma most commonly affects Caucasians, Hispanics are disproportionately affected by greater morbidity and mortality rates when diagnosed. Poor prognosis in Hispanic patients is likely multifactorial, and may be secondary to lack of knowledge or misconceptions about melanoma risk, atypical presentation, impaired access to care, and language barriers, ultimately resulting in a delay in diagnosis. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Genetic Research, Melanoma / 29.04.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Matthew H. Law, PhD Senior Research Officer, Statistical Genetics QIMR Berghofer MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: A large genetic study of melanoma involving a global collaboration of scientists, co-led by QIMR Berghofer, the University of Leeds in the UK, and the National Cancer Institute in the US which is part of the National Institutes of Health, has been published in the prestigious journal Nature Genetics. Melanoma is a sometimes-deadly skin cancer, with an estimated 350,000 cases worldwide in 2015, resulting in nearly 60,000 deaths. Melanoma begins in melanocytes, cells in the skin responsible for making the pigment melanin that gives colour to the skin. Melanin is able to block some of the harmful effects of UV radiation, which is why people with pale skin are at a higher risk of skin cancer, but the protection is not complete. Moles also develop from melanocytes, and having a high number of moles is a risk factor for melanoma. UK based co-lead author, Dr Mark Iles from the University of Leeds’s Institute for Data Analytics, said the researchers examined DNA from 37,000 people who had been diagnosed with melanoma and compared their genetic information to that of nearly 400,000 people with no history of the disease.” Joint study leader and QIMR Berghofer statistical geneticist Associate Professor Matthew Law said the researchers identified 33 new regions of the genome and confirmed another 21 previously reported regions that are linked to a person’s risk of developing melanoma of the skin. Two of the new regions we’ve discovered that are linked to melanoma have previously been linked to autoimmune disorders. This provides further evidence that the immune system plays an important role in a person developing melanoma. We also found an association between melanoma and common genetic variants in the gene TP53, which is a gene critical in controlling DNA repair when cells divide, and in suppressing cancer.” Co-lead author on the study and senior investigator at the National Cancer Institute, Dr Maria Teresa Landi, said the research also uncovered other important clues to the genetic causes of melanoma. We used the relationship between moles, pigmentation, and melanoma to identify 31 additional gene regions that potentially influence melanoma risk. For example, one of the regions we identified is involved in melanocyte growth,” Dr Landi said. “Moreover, we also included people from Mediterranean populations involved in the MelaNostrum Consortium. Most studies of melanoma use people with northern or western European ancestry (e.g. British) and by expanding our analysis to include Mediterranean populations, we will gain a greater understanding of the genetics of melanoma in this highly sun exposed group.” (more…)
Author Interviews, Melanoma, NYU / 25.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: David Polsky, MD, PhD Professor of Dermatology and Pathology Alfred W. Kopf MD, Professor of Dermatologic Oncology Director, Pigmented Lesion Section The Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology New York University Grossman School of Medicine Perlmutter Cancer Center Joan and Joel Smilow Research Center New York, NY 10016 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The background for the study was to determine the extent to which new treatments for metastatic melanoma were impacting melanoma mortality rates for the United States population. Multiple clinical trials have demonstrated that several new agents were highly effective at prolonging survival. These treatments belong to two different groups of medications: those targeting the biological pathway activated by mutation in the BRAF oncogene, which occurs in just under 50% of metastatic melanomas; and those targeting the immune system, called checkpoint inhibitors. These drugs prevent melanomas from suppressing the immune response to the tumors. Ten treatments were approved beginning in 2011, including six treatments between 2011 and 2014. We examined mortality rates between 1986 and 2016, prior to and after FDA approval of these agents. (more…)
Author Interviews, Melanoma, Psychological Science / 05.03.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Sinead Langan. FRCP MSc PhD Professor of Clinical Epidemiology Wellcome Senior Clinical Fellow Faculty of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine London, U.K. MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Psychological stress is commonly cited as a risk factor for melanoma, but clinical evidence is limited. We wanted to test the hypothesis that acute severe stress increases the risk of melanoma and melanoma progression. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Environmental Risks, Melanoma / 19.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Farhad Islami, MD PhD Scientific Director, Surveillance Research American Cancer Society, Inc  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Many cases of cutaneous melanoma (melanoma) in the United States have been attributed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, but there was little information on the state-by-state burden of melanoma due to UV exposure. We estimated numbers, proportions and age-standardized incidence rates of malignant melanomas attributable to UV radiation in each US state by calculating the difference between observed melanomas during 2011–2015 and expected cases based on rates in a population with theoretically minimum UV exposure. As there is no population completely unexposed to UV radiation, the reference rates we used were historical melanoma incidence rates in Connecticut during 1942–1954, when the melanoma burden was low. For most adults, melanomas diagnosed in that period likely reflected UV exposure accumulated in the 1930s or earlier, when exposure was minimized by clothing style and limited recreational exposure. We estimated that 338,701 melanoma cases (91.0% of total, 372,335) in the United States during 2011–2015 were attributable to UV exposure; 94.3% of all these UV-attributable cases (or 319,412 cases) occurred in non-Hispanic whites. UV-attributable melanoma incidence rates and cases were higher among males than females, but attributable rates and cases in ages <45 years were higher among females. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Dermatology, Gender Differences, JAMA, Melanoma / 12.02.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Arash Mostaghimi, MD, MPA, MPH Director, Inpatient Dermatology , Brigham and Women's Hospital Instructor, Harvard Medical School Department of Dermatology Brigham and Women's Hospital MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: Smaller studies have demonstrated increased risk for skin cancer among gay men.  Prior to this study this data had not been confirmed in a nationally representative database. (more…)
Author Interviews, Melanoma / 14.01.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Prof. Victoria Sanz-Moreno Professor of Cancer Cell Biology Cancer Research UK Senior Fellow and Cancer Research UK Werth Trust Fellow Barts Cancer Institute- a Cancer Research UK Centre of Excellence Queen Mary University of London MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Malignant melanoma- a cancer of the skin- has very poor survival rates despite being at the forefront of personalised medicine. This is mostly due to therapy resistance. Our current study indicates that melanoma cells escape anti-cancer drugs by changing their internal skeleton (cytoskeleton) – opening up new therapeutic venues for melanoma. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Melanoma / 17.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jennifer M. Gardner, MD Clinical Assistant Professor of Dermatology University of Washington School of Medicine  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study looked at age-specific differences of melanoma incidence in the United States. It was an observational study looking at population-based registry data extracted from the combined National Program of Cancer Registries-Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results United States Cancer Statistics (NPCR-SEER) database. The overall take home message from this study is that though melanoma incidence has continued to climb in the past decade for both men and women, most of the increase is seen in adults greater than age 40 years of age.  In contrast, melanoma incidence decreased in adolescents (ages 10-19 years of age) and young adults (ages 20-29) after peaking around 2004-2005. Melanoma is more common in males in older individuals (older than 50 years of age) but in younger individuals (<50 years of age), melanoma is more common in females.  According to a recently published JAMA-Otolaryngology paper by Bray and colleagues, there may be a subset of younger individuals where males are at a higher risk than females in regard to head and neck melanoma, and after that study was published we noted this to be true in our numbers, as well (we didn’t publish this in our study), further identifying a possibly “at risk” demographic within the younger age groups in addition to young women. (more…)
Author Interviews, Biomarkers, Melanoma, Ophthalmology / 15.11.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Mitchell Stark, B.App.Sc (Hons), PhD NHMRC Research Fellow The University of Queensland Diamantina Institute Woolloongabba, QLD MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Uveal nevi (moles) mimic the appearance of uveal melanoma and their transformation potential cannot be definitively determined without a biopsy. Moles or naevi in the eye are common but can be difficult to monitor because changes to their shape or colouring can’t always be seen as easily as on the skin. As naevi are difficult to biopsy, they are usually “monitored” at regular intervals. If there is a melanoma in the eye, then outcomes are poor for people if their cancer spreads to the liver. This study aimed to identify a “biomarker” that could be measured in patients’ blood that could be used as an early indicator of melanoma formation (from a mole) or progression to other body sites.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, JAMA, Melanoma, Surgical Research, Weight Research / 30.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Magdalena Taube, PhD Institute of Medicine, Dept of Molecular and Clinical Medicine Sahlgrenska Academy at Gothenburg University Wallenberg laboratory Gothenburg Sweden  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Obesity is a cancer risk factor, and bariatric surgery in patients with obesity is associated with reduced cancer risk. However, evidence of an association among obesity, bariatric surgery and skin cancer is limited. In this study we used data from the Swedish Obese Subjects (SOS) study– a prospective controlled intervention trial examining bariatric surgery outcomes – to analyze the impact of bariatric surgery on skin cancer incidence. (more…)
Author Interviews, Dermatology, JAMA, Melanoma, Technology / 21.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: https://skin-analytics.com/about-us/ Dr. Helen Marsden PhD Skin Analytics Limited London, United Kingdom MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In this technology age, with the explosion of interest and applications using Artificial Intelligence, it is easy to accept the output of a technology-based test - such as a smartphone app designed to identify skin cancer - without thinking too much about it. In reality, technology is only as good as the way it has been developed, tested and validated. In particular, AI algorithms are prone to a lack of “generalisation” - i.e. their performance drops when presented with data it has not seen before. In the medical field, and particularly in areas where AI is being developed to direct a patient’s diagnosis or care, this is particularly problematic. Inappropriate diagnosis or advice to patients can lead to false reassurance, heightened concern and pressure on NHS services, or worse. It is concerning, therefore, that there are a large number of smartphone apps available that provide an assessment of skin lesions, including some that provide an estimate of the probability of malignancy, that have not been assessed for diagnostic accuracy. Skin Analytics has developed an AI-based algorithm, named: Deep Ensemble for Recognition of Malignancy (DERM), for use as a decision support tool for healthcare providers. DERM determines the likelihood of skin cancer from dermoscopic images of skin lesions. It was developed using deep learning techniques that identify and assess features of these lesions which are associated with melanoma, using over 7,000 archived dermoscopic images. Using these images, it was shown to identify melanoma with similar accuracy to specialist physicians. However, to prove the algorithm could be used in a real life clinical setting, Skin Analytics set out to conduct a clinical validation study. (more…)
AACR, Author Interviews, Melanoma / 20.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Qing Chen, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Immunology, Microenvironment & Metastasis Program Scientific Director, Imaging Facility The Wistar Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: We are focusing on how a specific type of brain cells, astrocytes, helps the cancer cells from melanoma and breast cancer to form metastatic lesions.  (more…)
Author Interviews, Environmental Risks, Global Health, Melanoma / 10.10.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Suzanne Dobbinson, PhD Senior Research Fellow Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer Behavioural Science Division Australia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Skin cancer prevention programs, such as the SunSmart program in Victoria, have been implemented in Australia over 30 years with the aim of reducing the population’s exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV), the main cause of skin cancer. A recent reduction in melanoma rates among younger Australians has led to this paper which examines the extent of behaviour change in Melbourne, Australia, and the potential contribution of prevention programs to the decline in melanoma rates. Previous population-based studies assessing the impact of these programs have focused on measuring the change in the prevalence of individual sun protection behaviours, and thus have largely overlooked the use of sun avoidance and composite sun protection behaviours. The focus on tracking individual behaviours may have underestimated the behaviour change associated with these programs. We analysed data from a series of cross-sectional surveys conducted in Melbourne during summer months between 1987 and 2017. These data include the summer before the SunSmart program commenced (1987-88) and across summers in three subsequent decades. (more…)