Scientists in Switzerland have reported that the darkened spots usually found on the skin of deeply ripened banana may help to easily and quickly detect skin cancer; an advancement which would see survival chances rise.
Bananas, upon ripening, become covered in certain black round spots which are caused by an enzyme called tyrosinase. The same tyrosinase can be found in human skin, a larger quantity in persons suffering from melonama, a potentially deadly form of skin cancer.
The enzyme is not very obvious in the earliest stage 1 of cancer, but becomes widespread and evenly distributed in stage 2, and unevenly distributed in stage 3 — by which time the cancer would have begun spreading to other parts of the body. The researchers concluded that the enzyme is a reliable marker of melanoma growth.
Team leader Hubert Girault in a statement said, “By working with fruit, we were able to develop and test a diagnostic method before trying it on human biopsies.”
“This system could obviate the need for invasive tests like biopsies,” he further said.
Cancer is one of the most feared and common diseases in the world, with deaths resulting from the disease standing at 8.2million as at 2012.
The research was published in the German science journal Angewandte Chemie.