“As we age, bananas are covered with black spots caused by the presence of an enzyme, tyrosinase This is’ a natural process of browning of certain bodies, such as food. This same enzyme also plays a role in melanoma type of skin cancer, “explain the researchers in a statement from the Federal Polytechnic School of Lausanne (EPFL).

When a malfunction occurs in the regulation of this enzyme that produces the tan, the very foncée–task melanoma appears.

from this analogy -presence tyrosinase in ripe fruits and human-melanoma, Lin Tzu-En chemist has developed an imaging technique for measuring the presence of tyrosinase and its distribution in the skin. “The research was carried out first on ripe fruit, then on samples of cancerous tissue,” the researchers said. “They have proven that the level of presence and distribution of the enzyme tyrosinase provide information on the stage of the disease.”

In stage 1, the enzyme appears little. At stage 2, it is present in large quantities and homogeneously. In Stage 3, is distributed heterogeneously.

“Working on fruits allowed us to develop a diagnostic tool that we tested before making the on human biopsies,” says Hubert Girault, head of the team that conducted the study, whose results were published in the German journal Angewandte Chemie.

alternative to invasive testing

the tool a mini scanner with eight flexible microelectrode caresses the skin surface while measuring the reactivity of the enzyme.

more melanoma is diagnosed early, the more the chances of recovery are high. This technique could thus be a tool for dermatologists to confirm what they detect with a discerning eye. It would also be an alternative to invasive tests such as biopsy.

“The next step will be to use the same scanner to visualize tumors and eliminate” the researchers continue. “Our initial laboratory tests have shown that the cells could be destroyed using our tool,” said Hubert Girault.

When melanoma is diagnosed early, the survival rate at five years is 86% for men and to 92% for women, according to data from the French health authorities.