Pioneering melanoma test to be available on NHS within two years

A “pioneering” new test is being developed to predict whether melanoma is likely to spread or return.

The research has been partially funded by The British Skin Foundation and is set to be available within two years

It predicts whether an early melanoma is likely to spread, or to return in people who have previously been diagnosed with the skin cancer. 

The prognostic test, called AMBLor, was developed by Professor Penny Lovat and Dr Robert Ellis of Newcastle University and is currently seeking approvals. 

It is able to better identify a patient’s true risk of melanoma disease progression in the early stages, with the developers predicting that over 70% of new stage-one melanoma patients will have a more accurate indication of the risk of the disease spreading, helping doctors to tailor effective treatment plans. 

The test uses the presence or loss of two biomarkers in the upper layer of the skin as an indication of risk. 

Once approved, it can be applied to a primary tumour biopsy on its removal. 

Lovat, professor of Cellular Dermatology and Oncology at Newcastle University and chief scientific officer at AMLo Biosciences, the University spin-out company behind the testing kit, commented: "Building on our previous studies, this new research demonstrates that the loss or reduction of these proteins indicate that the tumour is more likely to spread allowing us to develop our test, called AMBLor.

“This can be applied to the standard biopsy and also identifies those who have genuinely low-risk, less aggressive cancers.

“As a patient, the AMBLor test tells you if you're in the low risk category – and can offer you reassurance. It could also save the NHS up to £38 million a year by reducing the number of follow-up appointments for those identified as low-risk."

If you're interested in the role that beauty therapists can play in the early detection of skin cancer, don't miss Claire Dale, campaign manager for Skcin, on the Trend Watch Stage at Professional Beauty North. Dale will be talking about how different skin cancers can appear on your clients, as well as offering advice on how to raise this sensitive subject and what to do if you feel they have a suspicious lesion. There's still time to book your ticket for her talk.

The only way to get into Professional Beauty North for free is to register for your ticket in advance