MAR 28, 2019 8:00 PM PDT

A Rare and Potent Sea Fighter: An End to Melanoma Cells?

WRITTEN BY: Nupur Srivastava

Melanoma is cancer that usually starts in a particular type of skin cell as melanocytes. It can be more severe than other forms of skin cancer because of a tendency to spread to other parts of the body (metastasize) and cause extreme illness and death. The rates of melanoma have been rising for the last 50 years in the United States. This year, melanoma will affect 96,480 people and kill 7,230 in the United States, according to the latest estimates. As melanoma spreads fast and migrates to other locations in the body, its prognosis is hard, and scientists are looking for effective ways to treat melanoma. New therapeutic inhibitors “BRAF” mutations are effective drugs for melanoma treatment. However, almost half of the patients did not respond to the remedy and the remaining patients developed resistance to the drugs in a few months, rendering the treatment ineffective.

While trying to explore alternative ways for the prevention of the melanoma, the researchers discovered a natural product, seriniquinone, isolated from a rare marine bacterium of the genus, Serinicoccus, to be dominant and selective against melanoma cells. The investigators from the University of California in San Diego, Universidade Federal de São Paulo and Universidade de São Paulo in Brazil published their work in ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. William Fenical, James J. La Clair, and Leticia Costa-Lotufo were the leaders of the research team. In one of the publications in the year 2014, their studies determine that seriniquinone aids in destroying the melanoma cells in the laboratory by targeting and inducing cell death of dermcidin, a protein highly expressed in melanoma cells.

With the discovery of these molecules, the scientists tried modifying the structure of the particles to make it water-soluble and more accessible to purify. Without changing the anti-cancer property of seriniquinone, researchers were successful in making it more useful for a person with the disease, rather than being limited to the test tubes. The authors wrote, “The translation of seriniquinone into a chemotherapeutic agent is complex. It requires significant medicinal chemistry efforts to generate a large number of derivatives to improve its ‘drug-like’ properties.” They say, “Overall, these studies suggest that it is feasible to design melanoma-specific seriniquinone derivatives with drug-like properties.”

The research team is closer to designing and marketing the right drug as they are developing ways to optimize the action of these seriniquinone derivatives for more targeted therapy of melanoma.

Sources: ACS Newsletter, EurekAlert!, PNAS, Oncotarget, ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letter

About the Author
You May Also Like
APR 22, 2020
APR 22, 2020
First COVID-19 Death Happened in the US Far Earlier Than We Thought
It was thought that the first death in the US from SARS-CoV-2 happened in Washington State in late February, but autopsi ...
APR 23, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
APR 23, 2020
FDA Approves At-Home Sample Collection Diagnostic Test for COVID-19
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). M ...
MAY 07, 2020
MAY 07, 2020
Yet Another Cancer Linked Tyrosine Kinase
In a cell, there are tens of thousands of individual components. Each component has a specific activity or role that the ...
MAY 12, 2020
MAY 12, 2020
Disabling Genes in Immune Cells Prevents Obesity
Obesity is a $1.7 trillion problem in the United States — a value almost 10% of the nation’s gross domestic ...
MAY 15, 2020
Health & Medicine
MAY 15, 2020
Study Recommends 19 As Minimum Legal Age for Recreational Cannabis
Scientists concluded from a recent study that 19 years of age is the “optimal minimum legal age” for recreat ...
MAY 15, 2020
MAY 15, 2020
Cardiovascular Disease Mortality is Greater in Rural Areas
A wide variation in cardiovascular disease mortality rates has been noted among counties in the United States. Residents ...
Loading Comments...