CANBERRA, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- Researchers have developed a peptide that imitates a melanoma-killing virus, in a biomedical engineering advance that could lead to the development of a cream to target and treat skin cancer, a latest study from Melbourne's RMIT University showed on Monday.
The research team has successfully synthesised a peptide that mimics the activity of a virus protein, with laboratory tests showing the peptide kills melanoma cells while leaving normal human skin cells unharmed, according to the statement of RMIT University.
They tested the efficacy of a peptide - a short chain of amino acids - that was designed to work like the proteins of the myxoma virus, a cancer-killing virus shown to be toxic to melanoma in previous studies.
"Australia has the highest incidence of melanoma in the world, with more than 11,000 new diagnoses each year," said Lead investigator Dr Taghrid Istivan in the statement.
Currently the only effective treatment for early stage melanoma is surgery to cut out the tumour and healthy skin surrounding the affected mole. But with further research, it can hopefully develop a cream to treat early stage melanoma effectively.
Dr Istivan is presenting the research findings at the 40th Congress of the International Society of Oncology and Biomarkers ( 13 - 17 October, Jerusalem).