A research group funded by Australian Government has developed a potential new material that can make early diagnosis of malignant melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer possible.
Writing about their work in the ACS' Journal of the Medicinal Chemistry, the Cooperative Research Consortium for Biomedical Imaging Develop has revealed that the novel material is currently being tested in laboratory animals.
Ivan Greguric, a group member, notes that about 130,000 new cases of malignant melanoma occur each year worldwide.
Although patients do best with early diagnosis and prompt treatment, according to the researcher, the positron emission tomography (PET) scans sometimes used for diagnosis sometimes miss small cancers, delaying diagnosis and treatment.
While searching for better ways of diagnosis, the researchers identified a new group of radioactive imaging agents, known as fluoronicotinamides.
Testing it on laboratory mice that had melanoma, the researchers observed that the novel substance revealed skin cancer cells with greater accuracy than imaging agents currently in use.
Consequently, note the researchers, this substance may become a "superior" PET imaging agent for improving the diagnosis and monitoring the effectiveness of treatment of melanoma.
They have revealed that clinical trials with this new agent are scheduled for 2010.