In today’s digital world, smartphones can eliminate trips to the grocery store, the library or even the bank. But can downloading a skin cancer application really replace a doctor’s appointment? While
avoiding the waiting room may have its appeals, a new analysis of apps to identify cancerous skin conditions shows that their accuracy is lacking and the consequences grave.
How can an app identify skin cancer, you might ask? The technology relies on digital image analysis. Users upload photos of their moles, blotches or blisters in question and the images are examined either by software or a set of eyes.
What’s the News: Three new drugs have been shown to improve survival and slow disease progress in patients with metastatic melanoma. This advanced form of the disease is the deadliest type of skin cancer, with patients surviving for an average of only 6 to 9 months. Phase III clinical trials of the treatments—a new chemotherapy drug, an immune-system treatment combined with traditional chemotherapy, and a vaccine combined with another immune treatment—were recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Metastatic melanoma cells
What’s the News: Souped-up cells from a patient’s own immune system could one day be used to treat advanced melanoma, according to a preliminary study published in Science Translational Medicine investigating the safety of the technique. The researchers manipulated a patient’s immune system cells to better recognize cancer cells in the lab and then re-introduced those cells into the body—an approach called “adoptive T-cell therapy.”