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Melanoma Vaccine for Man's Best Friend

Researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center are developing and testing a human melanoma vaccine. Their friends across the street, veterinarians at the Animal Medical Center in New York, decided they'd like to try the vaccine on some sick dogs.

Dogs natually develop many different kinds of cancers, like humans. Unlike humans, melanoma that develops in dogs is not usually related to sun exposure, but it can be difficult to treat, and can be fatal.

The first dog to recieve the melanoma vaccine underwent complete disappearance of the tumor. Since then, nearly 100 dogs have been treated with the vaccine. It has worked so well, that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will soon license the vaccine as a melanoma treatment for dogs.

Testing of the vaccine continues in humans, but researchers are encouraged by this success.

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New Mobile Skin Cancer Treatment

Two Scottish scientists from St. Andrews University and Dundee's Ninewells Hospital in Scotland have developed a new way to treat common, non-melanoma skin cancers.

The treatment is an adaptation of a current treatment called photodynamic therapy treatment (PDT) which requires skin cancer patients to lie under a light for several hours in a special cubicle.

The new treatment contains an organic light-emitting diode (LED) in sticky bandage. Light is emitted when a low voltage electric current passes through it. Initial pilot trials have shown this treatment to be successful which provides new treatment options to skin cancer patients with non-melanoma skin cancers. Patients with melanoma cannot be treated with this method and must be treated traditionally with sugery, radiotherapy and possibly chemotherapy.

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Captian Cutaneum To the Rescue!

Dermatologist Ruskin Lines, M.D. isn't just any dermatologist.  His alter ego is a super hero called "Captain Cutaneum." Captain Cutaneum visits fifth graders in his local elementary schools to educate students on the dangers of sun exposure. He comes in costume, wearing a wide brimmed blue hat, long blue gloves and dark sunglasses to emphasize the need to cover the skin from the sun's harmful rays.

During his appearances, he teaches a lesson on the harmful aspects of the sun's rays, and shows pictures of various skin cancers. He also explains the importance of covering up exposed areas of skin while playing in the sun and using sunscreen.

Captain Cutaneum is also featured as a super hero in a comic book, fighting against villains named after each of the skin lesions. The first comic book introduces two evil characters called, Lentigo (named for the brown, flat freckles associated with sun damage) and Squamous. His biggest arch enemy, "Melanoma," will be introduced in an upcoming issue.

For information, visit

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