07.06.2016 New…

New therapies for skin cancer

Department of Dermatology at Heidelberg University Hospital Photo: Heidelberg University Hospital

June 2016

Advanced-stage skin cancer can be very dangerous. Using immunotherapies with scattered skin cancer increase the chances of a longer survival.

'Melanoma, the most dangerous skin cancer, is rapidly becoming much more frequent than any other malignant tumor', explains Professor Alexander Enk, Medical Director of the Department of Dermatology at Heidelberg University Hospital. 'Among other things, this is due to the fact that we are exposing our skin more strongly and more frequently to the sun, and thus UV light, than in the past.' Therefore, early detection through regular skin screening is important.

Immunotherapy for scattered skin cancer increases the chances for a longer survival

'If detected early, skin cancer is easy to treat. However, in advanced stages, i.e., if it has already scattered, it can become very dangerous', states Enk. New therapy concepts now exist for such patients. So-called antibodies, artificially produced immune proteins that support the body’s own immune system in the destruction of cancer cells are used. 'For the first time, these immunotherapies significantly increase the chances for a longer survival. This gives rise to some hope,' says the dermatologist. The new therapies are regularly on offer at the Skin Tumor Center at the Department of Dermatology and at the National Center for Tumor Diseases Heidelberg (NCT) and as part of various clinical trials as well.

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