Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer is the world, and although melanoma is a more rare form, it is also the most deadly. New research from Michigan State University may soon change this. According to a recent study, a new chemical compound that is able to reduce the spread of melanoma cells by up to 90 percent may serve as a potential drug for the historically aggressive cancer.

The compound is man-made, and works by stopping a gene’s ability to cause cancer to spread by halting a process known as transcription. According to a press release, it's one of the few molecules known to be able to block this critical cell behavior, and that's why researchers are so excited about its potential.

Read: Skin Cancer Less Common, More Deadly For Black People

"It's been a challenge developing small-molecule drugs that can block this gene activity that works as a signaling mechanism known to be important in melanoma progression," said Richard Neubig, a pharmacology professor and co-author of the study, Medical Xpress reported. "Our chemical compound is actually the same one that we've been working on to potentially treat the disease scleroderma, which now we've found works effectively on this type of cancer."

In lab experiments, the compound reduced the spread of melanoma cells by 85 to 90 percent. In addition, the compound also significantly reduced tumors specifically in the lungs of mice that had been injected with human melanoma cells.

"The majority of people die from melanoma because of the disease spreading," added Neubig. "Our compounds can block cancer migration and potentially increase patient survival.

Much more research is needed before the compound is turned into a drug that can be given to the public. According to the researchers, the next step is identifying which melanoma patients the compound may work best on, and then developing the compound into a safe drug option.

Source: Gowda R, Kardos G, Sharma A, et al. Nanoparticle-based Celecoxib and Plumbagin for the Synergistic Treatment of Melanoma. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics . 2016

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