Drug developed to stop spread of Deadliest Skin Cancer

January 05 2017
Drug developed to stop spread of Deadliest Skin Cancer

New York: Scientist has developed a new drug compound which has the potential to stop the spread of melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer by upto 90 percent.

About 10,000 people dies yearly due to melanoma. The disease spreads throughout the body quickly and attacks distant organs such as the brain and lungs.

"The majority of people die from melanoma because of the disease spreading. Our compound can block cancer migration and potentially increase patient survival," said Richard Neubig, Professor at the Michigan State University.

The new study shows that the drug can stop the spread of melanoma from 85-90 per cent. The new drug also reduced tumours, specifically in the lungs of mice that had been injected with human melanoma cells, the researchers said.

The man-made small-molecule drug compound goes after a gene`s ability to produce RNA molecules and certain proteins in melanoma tumours. 

This gene activity, or transcription process, makes the disease to spread but the newly developed drug can shut it down. Until now, few other compounds of this kind have been able to accomplish this, the researchers stated

The compounds has the ability to stop proteins, known as Myocardin-related transcription factors, or MRTFs, from initiating the gene transcription process in melanoma cells. 

These triggering proteins are initially turned on by another protein called RhoC, or Ras homology C, which is found in a signalling pathway that can cause the disease to spread in the body aggressively.

"The effect of our compounds on turning off this melanoma cell growth and progression is much stronger when the pathway is activated. We could look for the activation of the MRTF proteins as a biomarker to determine risk, especially for those in early-stage melanoma,"said in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.

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