Researchers identify new method to selectively kill metastatic melanoma cells

Aug 03, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- An international team of researchers has identified a new method for selectively killing metastatic melanoma cells, which may lead to new areas for drug development in melanoma - a cancer that is highly resistant to current treatment strategies.

Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University, in collaboration with a team of researchers led by Maria S. Soengas, Ph.D., with the Spanish National Cancer Research Center in Madrid, Spain, found that activation of a specific molecular pathway triggers to begin a process of self-destruction - through self-digestion and programmed cell death. The study is published in the August 4 print issue of the journal Cancer Cell.

"The present research provides a path that could lead with further studies and a phase I clinical trial for safety to the development of a strategy that reenergizes the immune system to destroy this highly aggressive cancer," said lead investigator at VCU, Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D., the first incumbent of the Thelma Newmeyer Corman Endowed Chair in Cancer Research with the VCU Massey Cancer Center.

According to Fisher, the pathway that is activated involves the melanoma differentiation associated gene-5, or mda-5, a gene initially cloned in Fisher's laboratory, that activates a protein called NOXA that is involved with programmed cell death. This series of chemical reactions results in induction of a cell-killing process involving self-digestion that leads to specifically in cells. Fisher said that mda-5 is a key regulator of innate immunity that induces interferon beta production limiting replication of specific pathogenic viruses.

Source: Virginia Commonwealth University (news : web)

Explore further: Silencing the speech gene FOXP2 causes breast cancer cells to metastasize

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Researchers identify new anti-tumor gene

Dec 16, 2008

Researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University have identified a new anti-tumor gene called SARI that can interact with and suppress a key protein that is overexpressed in 90 percent of human cancers. The discovery could ...

Recommended for you

Fecal blood test may save more lives than colonoscopy

2 hours ago

State public health programs could screen many more low-income and uninsured people for colorectal cancer – and save up to four times as many lives – by using stool sample blood tests instead of colonoscopies, ...

Scientists discover hidden subpopulation of melanoma cells

6 hours ago

UNC School of Medicine researchers have pinpointed a set of intriguing characteristics in a previously unknown subpopulation of melanoma cancer cells in blood vessels of tumors. These cells, which mimic non-cancerous ...

User comments : 0