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Bandages For Skin Cancer

by hridika ahire
Bandages For Skin Cancer

March 8, 2021

Cancer continuous to be one of the most fatal ailments known to the mankind. The very thought of a mutation eating away your cells and multiplying inside the body can be gut wrenching. Treating cancer is difficult, excruciating and requires immense will power. However, the much dreaded cancer might become a cakewalk as some researchers from Bangalore have found a non-invasive treatment - bandages for skin cancer!

Non-Invasive Treatment For Cancer.

We have heard about all the cancers in the world and how expensive and  dangerous they are. The cost of treating cancer might be in millions depending on the seriousness of it. Of course, there are organizations that help out the affected by acting as their genies, as we saw in The Fault in Our Stars, but we cannot take away the pain of the people affected. What we can do is try to find the best possible  cure to cancer. Finally, some scientists from Bangalore have found a new treatment for skin cancer which is non-invasive and can be used like a bandage.

new-bandage-made-with-magnetic-nano-fibres-can-kill-skin-cancer-cells-with-heat-scoolbuzz
Though this novel treatment has been shown to be effective against skin cancer in lab experiments, it is still at a nascent stage of development as a clinical therapy.

Skin Cancer - Causes and its Symptoms

Skin cancers are very noticeable as they arise from the skin. This happens because a cell develops an abnormality that spreads to other parts of the body like the other cancers. It is often painless and appears to be shiny, with blood vessels visibly running over it. Skin Cancer is caused due to exposure to the ultraviolet radiation from the sun. The number of skin cancer patients have also risen due to the thinning of the ozone layer. People with lighter skin are more prone to having skin cancer.  

40% of people have skin cancer globally. There are two types of skin cancers, Melanoma, this is developed in the pigment-producing skin cells called melanocytes and Non-Melanoma, this develops on other skin cells says IISc. The non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common type of skin cancer and has a high mortality rate. This type of skin cancer appears in almost 3 million people per year.  

Prevention Is Better Than Cure

Always remember that 90% of skin cancer can be avoided if you stay in the shade, away from direct sunlight in the mid-afternoons as the sun is at its hottest at that time. Always use sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher and contains UFA as well as UVB protection. Avoid tanning beds too because the ultraviolet rays put the skin at risk. You could very well be harming your skin by using tanning beds when it is not even necessary! Just use your sunscreen people. Protect yourselves from skin cancer and any diseases that are caused by unnecessary exposure to the sun.

As for people thinking how do we get our vitamin D that the sun provides if we use the sunscreen and block the very vitamin that comes directly from the source, the answer is no one puts the sunscreen on every inch of the exposed body. You are still going to get the vitamin and as an addition, you can always eat your leafy vegetables or some oral multivitamin supplement. It’s the 21st century, you get everything you need to be up to date with your vitamin intake.

Magnetic-bandage-destroys-skin-cancer-cells-with-heat-scoolbuzz
Cancer cells may have a new enemy in the form of a magnetic bandage

Scientists have been using various methods to treat skin cancer like surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy, and most of them work. When we talk about cancer treatments, it scares all of us as anything could go wrong and the outcome may differ. It also leaves scars on the body which affects a lot of cancer patients’ confidence. When it comes to skin cancer, you will often see people with scars on whatever part the cancer cell had developed and the weakened state of the body due to the intense radiations.

Therefore, when researchers from the Indian Institute of Science developed a non-invasive bandage to treat the tumor cells, which is a relief for the people suffering from skin cancer.

Bandages For Skin Cancer - The Science Behind

Over the year’s scientists have been working on treating cancer using magnetic nanoparticles using a technique called ‘Magnetic Hypothermia’. In this form of treatment, the magnetic nanoparticles are delivered to the area where the tumor is and gets activated by an alternating magnetic field that heats up and takes out the cancer cells.

These nanoparticles are created using a technique called electrospinning where the material is drawn through an electric field to create microscopic fibers. The nanoparticles contain iron oxide Fe3O4, and biodegradable polymer which is then put on a surgical tap and heated up via a magnetic field. Cool right?

Do Bandages For Skin Cancer Actually Work?

Bandages for Skin Cancer sound too simple, don’t they? To test the aforesaid theory, the researchers conducted two experiments. One was on human cancer cell lines and the other was on mice with artificially induced skin cancer. In both the experiments, the heat generated by the Nano fibrous magnetic bandage successfully killed the cancer cells without harming the health tissues surrounding it.

“The elevated temperature at the treatment site enables heat to penetrate the tumour cells, rupturing the compact random vasculatures [network of blood vessels] of the tumors,” explains Shilpee Jain, senior author of the paper. “[In contrast], the normal healthy cells, owing to their organized open vasculatures, dissipate the heat to maintain normal temperatures, and so remain unharmed.”

Even though the trial was a success, there is still much to explore about this treatment and the efficiency needs to be tested on larger scale before releasing it for pre-clinical and clinical applications. However, one can only be hopeful that the bandages for skin cancer actually work!

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