Scientists have discovered something on a banana that can help detect and possibly cure skin cancer, especially Melanoma a deadly kind of skin cancer.
As bananas ripen, they turn darker. At some point, black spots begin to appear on the skin. These dark spots are caused by an enzyme called tyrosinase. This enzyme is present in the human skin, it is even more apparent in the skin of people suffering from melanoma.
In realization of this similarity, a group of scientist built a cancer scanner that measures tyrosinase levels and its distribution in human skin to study in-depth the correlation between a spotted banana and a skin with melanoma. The scanner has eight flexible microelectrodes, spaced like comb teeth, that go over the skin to measure the quantity and distribution of tyrosinase in it, and this allows the scientists to determine the stage of the cancer.
SEE ALSO: Scientists Can Now Grow Fallopian Tubes
The scientists, researchers at the Laboratory of Physical and Analytical Electrochemistry in Switzerland arrived at the conclusion that tyrosinase is a good indicator of melanoma growth in human skin. The results of the study was first published in the Angewandte Chemie science journal.
“The spots on human skin and on a banana peel are roughly the same size. By working with fruit, we were able to develop and test a diagnostic method before trying it on human biopsies,” team leader Hubert Girault said in a statement.
The team of scientists also believe that the scanner is a greater alternative to more intrusive options like biopsies.
The cancer has three stages; in the first stage it is not obvious, at the second stage it becomes more widespread and evenly distributed. By the last stage, it is unevenly dispersed in various parts of the body and thereby proving harder to cure.
The scientists hope to be able to rid the body of tumor which will in essence dissolve the need for chemotherapy and biopsies.
“Our initial laboratory tests showed us that our device could be used to destroy the cells,” Girault said. Girault and his team are also hopeful that the scanner could be used to destroy tumors, in the future.