Study Shows Promise For Creation Of Equine Melanoma Cream

Melanomas in horses are tricky to treat: most available therapies are inefficient or challenging to use. A new therapy may be on the horizon: an acid extracted from the bark of plane and birch trees could possibly be made into a cream that would be used topically to treat equine melanomas. A naturally occurring triterpenoid, betulinic acid plays a role in plant self-defense.

Drs. Lisa A. Weber, Jessica Meißner, Julien Delarocque, Jutta Kalbitz, Karsten Feige, Manfred Kietzmann, Anne Michaelis, Reinhard Paschke, Julia Michael, Barbara Pratscher and Jessika-M. V. Cavalleri believe betulinic is a promising compound for equine melanomas as it has antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory and anti-HIV properties; it has also been shown to have anticancer properties.

The researchers created a study that looked at the acid’s potential as a topical therapy on both equine melanoma cells and healthy dermal fibroblasts, which generate connective tissue and allow injured skin to heal. They determined that betulinic acid shows cytotoxic and antiproliferative effects on both equine melanoma cells and fibroblasts; more treatments had better results. However, normal equine dermal fibroblasts were also sensitive to betulinic acid, but the inflammatory reactions are suspected to be minor.

The scientists feel that betulinic acid is a promising topical equine melanoma treatment. However, they recommend more studies on the safety and efficacy of the substance on both healthy and melanoma-affected skin in live animals.

Read the study here.

Read more at HorseTalk.

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