FOR forty years, it has left scientists baffled. Now, researchers have finally uncovered the secret behind a rare skin cancer that can heal itself.
They hope the breakthrough will lead to new treatments for other cancers.
Known as the multiple self-healing squamous epithelioma (MSSE), the skin cancer grows rapidly for a few weeks before healing itself spontaneously.
Scientists have now discovered that this happens because of the failure of a gene - the Transforming Growth Factor (Beta), Receptor 1 (TGFBR1).
The breakthrough was made by an international research team which included researchers from the Agency for Science, Technology and Research's Institute of Medical Biology in Singapore.
Their findings, published on Monday in the journal Nature Genetics, will help researchers understand and predict the effects of cancer treatment drugs.