Scientists have developed an ointment using plant extracts that may be effective in treating melanoma. (Representational image)
Beijing: Scientists have developed an ointment using plant extracts that may be effective in treating melanoma, the most aggressive form of skin cancer.
The cream, developed by researchers at the University of Santiago in Chile, is currently in the early stages of the testing.
It was applied to animals, and so far it has proved to be an effective solution for melanoma, said Sofia Michelson who, along with Claudio Acuna, led the research team.
"We are fighting melanoma because it is the most aggressive skin cancer. Other creams currently exist for treating skin cancer but they do not specifically treat this type," said Michelson.
The ointment is applied externally every third day for a period of about a month, during which the application zone should be protected, said the researchers.
The medication contains an extract of a shrub that is endemic in Chile. The substance affects the viability of the tumour cells, they said.
After applying the ointment on animals, the researchers were able to more than double the animals' life expectancy compared to other conventional medicines, the state-run 'Xinhua' news agency reported.
"The problem is that the human body does not react to tumours because they make bodies believe they are normal," Acuna said.
"For that reason, the idea was to find an immunological response for when a bacterial as well as a viral or parasitic infection appears," said Acuna.
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