Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, with an estimated 70,000 new cases diagnosed each year. Treatment for melanoma typically involves drug or radiation therapies, which are not always tolerated well. A new form of treatment, known as electroimmunotherapy or electroporation, may be better-received by some individuals. What do we currently know about this promising treatment?
Cancer-Fighting Genes Electrocuted Into the Tumor
Electroimmunotherapy begins by injecting the skin around the tumor with a gene called interleukin-12, or IL-12. Then, six needles connected to a generator are placed into the skin at the site of the tumor, sending 1,300 electric volts into the tumor tissue. The electricity enables the tumor’s cells to absorb the IL-12, which in turn prompts the body to fight the cancerous cells; this internal process is carried out within seconds. Electroimmunotherapy is done 3 times over the course of 8 days and is safe, with patients reporting no side effects the day after treatment.
Electroimmunotherapy Research Still In Preliminary Stages
As of this point, the effects of electroimmunotherapy have only been studied in a first-phase trial comprised of 24 patients. Roughly 75 percent of those patients saw partial, if not complete, eradication of their tumors. In addition, 10 patients even saw improvement in tumors that were not treated with IL-12. Research is still being conducted to determine the variation in tumor responses to IL-12.
When Was Your Last Skin Cancer Screening?
Although minimizing sun exposure greatly lowers your risk of developing skin cancer, regular complete body examinations are necessary to detect and treat skin cancer in its early stages. At Advanced Dermatology, PC, our board-certified dermatologists are experts at diagnosing and treating melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. Contact us today to schedule a complete body examination. Our conveniently located offices welcome patients from Queens, Long Island (Nassau County and Suffolk County), New York City, Westchester County, Bergen County, NJ, Union County, NJ, and all surrounding areas.