Red Dye For Melanoma Treatment

Red Dye Melanoma

A new study has shown a red dye, known of since 1882, could be effective for treating skin cancer. The primary cause of melanoma is ultraviolet light exposure in those with low levels of skin pigment.

The dye is called Rose Bengal (or 4,5,6,7-tetrachloro-2′,4′,5′,7′-tetraiodofluorescein) and, on its discovery, it was used to dye wool (turning fabric into a bright red / pink color). Its name derives from rose (flower) and Bengal (region). After this it came to be used as a biochemical stain.

A new use for the chemical may have been found, in the fight against skin cancer, according to Biopharmaceutical International. The pharmaceutical company Provectus Biopharmaceuticals has begun testing a reformulated version of the dye.

The version of the dye has been coded PV-10, on melanoma. The dye functions as a photoreactive agent with the use of lasers to tackle skin cancer. Here the dye seems to break down tumors when it is injected directly into them.

To date, tests have been undertaken on 11 patients. The subjects had 26 dermal metastatic lesions. With the use of the dye, 19 of the lesions showed improvement – a 76 percent success rate.

The findings are published in the Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology. The paper is titled “The Potential of Intralesional Rose Bengal to Stimulate T-Cell Mediated Anti-Tumor Responses.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is due to review these findings, together with a larger study consisting of 225 patients.

About the author

Tim Sandle

Dr. Tim Sandle is a chartered biologist and holds a first class honours degree in Applied Biology; a Masters degree in education; and has a doctorate from Keele University.