Researchers at the Centenary Institute have recently developed a strategy to potentially stop the spread of advanced-stage melanoma.
In a recent study, scientists made the effort for reducing the invasion properties and migration of melanoma cells. They developed the new way by inhibiting the interaction of two proteins that are involved in the process by which the molecules cross the cell membranes, intracellular trafficking.
The finding of the research is published in the journal, Investigative Dermatology.
The researchers found that elevated expression of melanophilin protein was emblematic of poor prognosis in patients suffering from advanced melanoma. The research is significant because the process metastasis becomes the major cause of death in such patients. In this process, cancer moves to other areas of the body and keeps spreading.
Melanoma is a form of cancer that develops from the melanocytes (pigment-containing cells). Melanomas are the serious type of cancer that usually occurs in the skin and rarely developed in intestines, mouth or eye. It is caused by the neoplastic transformation in melanocytes. It is responsible for major skin cancer deaths. Metastasis is the major cause of death in patients having melanoma.
Researchers employed melanoma cell line models from humans for experimentation. They demonstrate the significant reduction and control in cancer spread. They block the melanophilin ability of binding with the RAB27A protein, a critical regulator of intracellular transport.
American Cancer Society shared that around 10,000 adult Americans are expected to die from this most aggressive skin cancer, advanced melanoma. If caught earlier, it can be cured but once moved to the other body parts, it becomes difficult to deal. Most people have eventually acquired new melanomas which is no longer responsive to conventional targeted therapies.
The lead author and researcher at Centenary Institute, Mr. Dajiang Gu said they have clue about the binding of melanophilin proteins and RAB27A is crucial for the spread of melanoma cells in the body. He said they were successful in restricting the movement and invasion of melanoma cells by disrupting the binding of proteins with a newly developed blocking compound, BMD-20. The study suggests the development of new drugs that can target the binding of these two proteins is a promising target for the treatment of melanoma.
The senior author Dr. Shweta Tikoo notices the unmet need for new therapeutic strategies that can be developed as a combination regimen or standalone drug to fight against melanoma. She shared that melanoma has the highest mortality rates in western countries, accounting for yearly 1,500 deaths in Australia. It is one of the most common cancer types specifically affecting young Australians.
Dr. Tikoo said they have witnessed the rise in options of melanoma treatment involving immunotherapy, drug resistance, drug toxicity persist and issues like limited effectiveness. It is important to understand and target the actual mechanisms which involve invasion and progression of melanoma for the development of novel therapeutic strategies. These findings have the potential for making the real difference in the battle against advanced melanoma.