Researchers see tattoo as cancer treatment

1st July 2005, Comments 0 comments

1 July 2005, AMSTERDAM — A tattoo incorporating DNA is an effective way to activate the immune system and may offer new ways to treat infections and certain forms of cancer.

1 July 2005

AMSTERDAM — A tattoo incorporating DNA is an effective way to activate the immune system and may offer new ways to treat infections and certain forms of cancer.

The claims were made by three Dutch researchers in the journal Nature Medicine published on Friday.

Injecting a standard DNA vaccine into muscle to stimulate the immune system produces slow results and a patient's defence can remain weak even after repeated vaccination.

Scientists Adriaan Bins, Ton Schumacher and John Haanen of the Dutch Cancer Institute (NKI-AVL) in Amsterdam claim that they have discovered a more powerful and quicker method.

Rather than injecting the vaccine into muscle tissue, they suggest using a tattooing device that can punch 20,000 holes in a patient's skin in a matter of seconds. 

The advantage of this is the vaccine can create a response from the immune system on a cellular level within 12 days. It works so well because the skin functions as a natural barrier and therefore contains a lot of immune cells.

"The Tattoo treatment causes light damage to the skin. This damage is important because the defence cells are mobilised and quickly come into contact with the vaccine. This produces a powerful response from the immune system," Co-author Adriaan Bins said.

Bins hopes to begin testing the procedure next year on people with aggressive forms of skin cancer and melanomas.

"We also think that the treatment could have a positive effect on infectious illnesses such as Ebola, SARS, Malaria and HIV,' he said.

[Copyright Expatica + ANP 2005]

Subject: Dutch news

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