A deadly form of skin cancer is able to fend off the body's immune system, a new study out of the U.K. says.
Previous work from the team at King's College London showed that while patients with melanoma produced antibodies that could attack tumour cells, the immune system often seemed powerless to stop the cancer progressing.
But, they say their latest research revealed that the subtype of antibody attracted by the melanoma cells was the most ineffective at mounting the right sort of response.
In samples from 80 melanoma patients, they say that the conditions created by the tumour attract IgG4 antibodies, which mount the weakest response and in turn interfere with any "strong" IgG1 antibodies that might be present.
According to the Canadian Skin Cancer Foundation, over 80,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Canada each year, more than 5,000 of which are melanoma.
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