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Professor Durrant said: "Up until now, early diagnosis has been a crucial factor in the successful treatment of this disease. In the early stages it can be cured by completely removing the skin melanoma by surgery. However, in cases where it has not been picked up until further down the line, we have found that chemotherapy and radiotherapy simply do not work, although new compounds are being tested.
"It is still at a very early stage and impossible to predict the outcome of the clinical trial but if our results from the lab are replicated in patients I think we have a good chance of dramatically improving the chances of successful treatment -- we are hoping that the vaccine will cure between 10 and 20 per cent of patients with malignant melanoma."
The new vaccine works by activating the body's own natural defence systems -- it contains DNA and genetic material from tumours meaning it 'switches' on the specific immune cells that target melanoma. This means that it targets only the cancer and not the surrounding healthy tissue.