Melanoma is one of the deadliest forms of cancer: In 2011, it killed over 9,000 people in the U.S. Utah has the highest rate of melanoma cases in the country. But now, doctors in that state say they may be on to a cure, Fox 21 reported.
The treatment works by teaching the body to regenerate by rewiring viruses that are injected directly into melanoma tumors, Dr. Robert Andtbacka, a surgeon oncologist at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, told fox21online.com. From there, cells fight and halt the cancer from progressing, and the immune system learns to pulverize the cancer in other regions of the body.
If proven to work, the treatment may offer an alternative therapy with fewer side effects than traditional chemotherapy or surgery, Andtbacka said.
Maryann Gerber, a melanoma survivor who had surgery on her left cheek, said the promise of a less painful treatment could help others like her.
“If they could have done that to my face and so I didn't have to have the 6-inch scar on my face … I can't even imagine what my life would have been like for those two years," she told the news station.