Using stem cells in skin cancer treatment Professor Michal Kales from the Department of Dermatology of the UvA Medical Center and his team were able to show the possible cause of skin cancer which has an extremely high rate of survival and treatment response.

All skin cancers are caused by the growth of skin cells that eventually down-regulate certain essential genes therefore preventing the immune system from responding effectively since an effective immune system contains substances that defend normal tissues. In recent years stem cells have been used in skin cancer treatment since their recent progress has only stimulated the interest of stem cell research laboratories around the world. In this study published in Cell Stem Cell the researchers confirmed the role of these stem cells in the development and survival of skin cancer.

A stem cell is a protein that is basically a shuttle that transports progenitor cells into an individuals body as a standalone or as a clonal embryo. The progenitor cells are those cells that form the skin; stem cells residing in the epidermis consist of the progenitors. Studying these skin cells in cells in a living animal was the researchers main motivation to obtain specific information on stem cell function.

This work led the researchers from UvA to add two mouse models to the groups database of skin cancer patients. Using Personalised DNA Extraction and mRNA Stimulation in January 2019 the researchers were able to isolated both stem cells from the patients and treated them with antibiotics. This treatment prevented the growth of several melanoma cell lines generated from skin samples from patients as well as anti-tumour necrosis factor (Nrf) treatment.

This particular treatment shows promise in treating some types of melanomas; however we simply need a better understanding of the mechanisms that explain its beneficial effects and the mechanisms that can hinder it explains Kales a stem cell researcher at the Division of Dermatology UvA Medical Center.