Funding lacking for Merkel cell carcinoma research

May 6, 2008

Washington - The Associated Press reports that though diagnoses of Merkel cell carcinoma have tripled to about 1,500 a year, there have been no well-controlled studies on the best treatment.

Washington - The Associated Press reports that though diagnoses of Merkel cell carcinoma have tripled to about 1,500 a year, there have been no well-controlled studies on the best treatment.

According to the AP, the first comprehensive report on the disease’s symptoms and risk factors was published only in March. The cancer almost exclusively strikes sun-exposed skin of Caucasians over 50 years old. And while a weak immune system greatly increases risk, most patients have normal immunity.

In January, scientists announced that they had discovered a previously unknown virus lurking inside Merkel cell tumors, but added that if they had had more funding they could have easily discovered the virus five years previously.