A study - published in Nature Communications – reveals that the most deadly skin cancers may start in stem cells that lend color to hair as well as originate in hair follicles rather than in skin layers. The study states that hair follicles are complex organs that reside within skin layers and that it is there that immature pigment-making cells develop cancer-causing genetic changes. In a second step they are exposed to normal hair growth signals. Newly cancerous pigment stem cells then migrate up and out of the follicles to establish melanomas in nearby surface skin before spreading deeper.
"By confirming that oncogenic pigment cells in hair follicles are a bona fide source of melanoma, we have a better understanding of this cancer's biology and new ideas about how to counter it," says corresponding study author Mayumi Ito Suzuki, Ph.D., associate professor in the Ronald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology at NYU School of Medicine and Perlmutter Cancer Center. "Our mouse model is the first to demonstrate that follicular oncogenic melanocyte stem cells can establish melanomas, which promises to make it useful in identifying new diagnostics and treatments for melanoma," added first study author Qi Sun, Ph.D. "While our findings will require confirmation in further human testing, they argue that melanoma can arise in pigment stem cells originating both in follicles and in skin layers, such that some melanomas have multiple stem cells of origin."
Skin Cancer With Artificial Intelligence
Researchers showed for the first time that a form of artificial intelligence or machine learning known as a deep learning convolutional neural network (CNN) is better than experienced dermatologists at detecting skin cancer. In a study published recently in Annals of Oncology, researchers trained a CNN to identify skin cancer by showing it more than 100,000 images of malignant melanomas, as well as benign moles. They compared its performance with that of 58 international dermatologists and found that the CNN missed fewer melanomas and misdiagnosed benign moles less often as malignant as the group of dermatologists.
"The CNN works like the brain of a child,” says first author of the study, Professor Holger Haenssle, senior managing physician at the Department of Dermatology, University of Heidelberg, Germany. “To train it, we showed the CNN more than 100,000 images of malignant and benign skin cancers and moles and indicated the diagnosis for each image. Only dermoscopic images were used, lesions that were imaged at a 10-fold magnification. With each training image, the CNN improved its ability to differentiate between benign and malignant lesions. After finishing the training, we created two test sets of images from the Heidelberg library that had never been used for training and therefore were unknown to the CNN. One set of 300 images was built to solely test the performance of the CNN. Before doing so, 100 of the most difficult lesions were selected to test real dermatologists in comparison to the results of the CNN."
"The CNN missed fewer melanomas, meaning it had a higher sensitivity than the dermatologists, and it misdiagnosed fewer benign moles as malignant melanoma, which means it had a higher specificity; this would result in less unnecessary surgery," Haenssle continued. "Most dermatologists already use digital dermoscopy systems to image and store lesions for documentation and follow-up. The CNN can then easily and rapidly evaluate the stored image for an 'expert opinion' on the probability of melanoma."
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With over 30 years of writing and editing experience for newspapers, magazines and corporate communications, Kevin Kerfoot writes about natural health, nutrition, skincare and oral hygiene for Trusted Health Products’ natural health blog and newsletters.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.