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NCI scientists identify targets for melanoma immunotherapy
Date:9/10/2013

ific targets on tumor cells and kill those cells. Identification of the right targets present in a patient's tumor is, therefore, essential for immunotherapy to be successful.

Morgan and colleagues took metastatic melanoma samples from 59 patients, five established melanoma cell lines, and 31 normal tissue samples to profile the excessively expressed genes using NanoString. The researchers identified 67 genes that can be recognized by immune cells as targets on melanoma cells. They subsequently short-listed seven of these genes as ideal candidates because these genes fit the criteria: they were excessively expressed in melanoma tumors and were absent or at low levels in normal tissues, thus targeting them should cause no or minimal toxicity to nontarget organs.

Of these seven genes, five of them, CSAG2, IL13RA2, MAGEA3, MAGEC2, and PRAME, belong to a family called the cancer-testis genes, and the remaining two, CSPG4 and SOX10, are melanoma-related genes. Further investigation is needed before immune cells engineered to target these markers can be used in patients, according to Morgan.

"This is a good example of how newer technologies like NanoString arm cancer researchers and clinicians with the best gear to make tremendous advancements in cancer research and treatment," said Morgan. His team is currently using this technology to identify immunotherapy targets for pancreatic cancer.


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Contact: Jeremy Moore
jeremy.moore@aacr.org
215-446-7109
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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