New Skin Cancer Solutions

• Within 2 years, the disease may be treated with a tiny light-emitting bandage, say UK researchers. The battery-powered light activates cream applied to the lesion, and the cream then attacks cancerous cells.

• Synta Pharmaceuticals expects approval by 2009 for a late-stage melanoma drug that increases the body's level of damaging molecules until cancer cells implode. (Healthy cells can withstand the increase.) The treatment doubled trial patients' 1-year survival rates.

• Within 5 years, a blood test from the University of Missouri-Columbia may help detect the spread of skin cancer faster by exposing cells to laser pulses and "listening" to their vibrations. Melanin--the pigment in most melanoma cells--emits a frequency different from that of normal blood cells, alerting doctors to early stages of the disease.

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