MAR 25, 2019 10:59 AM PDT

Discovery of Biomarker Target for Melanoma

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

According to a study published in the journal Cancer Research, researchers have discovered a biomarker that could serve as a possible therapeutic target for melanoma. The marker is microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF)—which is is a protein that plays a crictcal role in the maintenance of the melanocyte lineage (cells that make melanin), as well as the differentiation of normal and malignant melanocytes and melanoma cell survival.

Melanoma in skin biopsy with H&E stain — this case may represent superficial spreading melanoma. Credit: Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

"We have now detected the first useful chemical inhibitor of MITF," said corresponding author Rhoda Alani, MD, the Herbert Mescon Chair of Dermatology at Boston University School of Medicine.

Over the past decade genetic mutations in human melanomas have been extensively examined—regardless, the role of epigenetic alterations in the development and progression of melanomas is still not well understood.

Specifically, scientists discovered that the inhibition of the epigenetic p300 Histone Acetyltransferase (HAT) enzyme stops the growth of human melanoma cells and cells that express the MITF protein are sensitive to this inhibition. The inhibition can hold many broad implications for the treatment of pigmented lesions in the skin which could potentially be used for the topical treatment of hyperpigmentation.

The study opens the doors to the endless pursuit for additional epigenetic approaches to cancers.

"When human melanoma cell lines were evaluated for growth effects using the chemical inhibitor of p300 HAT, the cell lines that were most sensitive to drug treatment were those that expressed high levels of MITF suggesting that MITF expression levels can predict melanoma sensitivity to such therapies," explained Alani, who also is chief of dermatology at Boston Medical Center.

Source: EurekAlert

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
DEC 06, 2019
Health & Medicine
DEC 06, 2019
Federal Restrictions Make It Hard For Cannabis Researchers
With marijuana use becoming more popular in aiding health, scientists race to find clarity around its health benefits and risks. Since the legalization of...
DEC 12, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
DEC 12, 2019
Probiotics Treat Alcohol-Induced Liver Injury
Alcoholic liver injury is caused by overconsumption of alcohol, something that can lead to serious diseases such as liver steatosis, liver cirrhosis and li...
DEC 25, 2019
Drug Discovery & Development
DEC 25, 2019
New Drug to Make Breast Cancer Treatment More Affordable
The US Food and Drug Administration has granted accelerated approval to new breast cancer drug, trastuzumab deruxtecan. The drug’s increasing recogni...
JAN 09, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 09, 2020
Can Cancer Drugs Treat Lung Damage?
Can therapeutics used in the treatment of cancer be a breakthrough for pulmonary disease? Specifically, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)? &ldqu...
JAN 18, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
JAN 18, 2020
Drug Combo Targets Osteoarthritis
Individuals suffering from osteoarthritis often face challenges of limited treatment options mainly pain relievers or joint replacement surgery. However, s...
FEB 18, 2020
Microbiology
FEB 18, 2020
Newly Found Glycopeptide Antibiotics Kill Bacteria in a New Way
The overuse and misuse of antibiotics and the adaptability of microbes has created a problem that people must solve....
Loading Comments...