Belgians test effective new skin cancer treatment.


Belgium has shown itself at the forefront of cancer research after a successful clinical trial on patients with metastasized melanomas.

The medical oncology team, led by Prof. Bart Neyns, at the University Hospital of Brussels (UZ Brussel) ran a trial that involved injecting a combination of the patient’s own immunity-boosting ‘dendritic’ cells and a synthetic immunity booster known as AS01B, into the patients’ tumours.

The trial offers a shot at recovery for those patients for whom the standard treatment methods yielded no results. In two of eight cases, all metastases disappeared, and another patient showed significant improvements after three weeks.

These are promising results for the treatment of a cancer with particularly low survival chances (the survival rate over five years is estimated to be as low as 10%). As a result, the clinical research is set to be continued.

The team took inspiration from a study that had yielded similar results when combining dendritic cells with T-VEC, an anti-cancer virus which is not available in Belgium, so they went with a synthetic and cheaper product.

Did you know that it was Belgians as well that discovered the cause of melanoma? Researchers at VIB-KU Leuven proved that mutated melanocytes (cells that produce a pigment known as melanin) are at the root of the most deadly type of skin cancer.