The University of Malta announced its ongoing research in collaboration with the University of Palermo, in the fields of baldness and cancer immunotherapy for pets.
Researchers, headed by Prof. Pierre Schembri-Wismayer are developing a therapeutic immunotherapy option for pets whose cancer has spread. This is being planned with local vet Trevor Zammit, but needs to be expanded further for more significant results. A tumour in a pet rat which was treated in this manner, resulted in dissolution of much of the tumour. Histological analysis in the lab of Prof. Francesco Cappello, University of Palermo, confirmed loss of tumour tissue, increased blood supply of the tumour and increased scar (healing) tissue. The researchers helping in this study included a number of graduate and undergraduate students who prepared the tumour vaccine from the pet tumours.
During a visit to Palermo, one of the Masters students at Prof. Schembri-Wismayer’s lab, Roberta Camilleri was trained on the immunohistochemistry and histochemistry of the hair follicles. The MCST funds also helped buy a number of the expensive consumables required for these tests. Samples are further being analysed using sophisticated ORBI-TRAP technology by Prof. Giampiero La Rocca in Palermo to indicate possible differences between balding and non-balding skin.