Navigation Links
Scientists identify interacting proteins key to melanoma development, treatment
Date:5/6/2008

Researchers have discovered how a mole develops into melanoma by showing the interaction of two key proteins involved in 60-70 percent of tumors. The Penn State scientists also demonstrate that therapeutic targeting of these proteins is necessary for drugs to effectively treat this deadly form of cancer.

"We have shown that when two proteins (V600E)B-Raf and Akt3 communicate with one another in a mole, they cooperate leading to the development of melanoma," said Gavin Robertson, lead author and associate professor of pharmacology, pathology and dermatology, and director of the Foreman Foundation Melanoma Therapeutics Program at the Penn State College of Medicine Cancer Institute. "We have also shown that effective therapies for melanoma need to target both these proteins, which essentially eliminates the tumors.

Melanoma is the most deadly form of skin cancer because it metastasizes or moves around the body so quickly. In general, people with advanced-stage disease only have months to live. Currently, melanoma kills one person every hour in the U.S., and is predicted to affect one in 50 people by 2010. In recent years, researchers have zeroed in on two key genes B-Raf and Akt3 that cause this deadly cancer, and which could be important targets in the treatment of melanoma.

B-Raf is the most mutated gene in melanoma. The mutant protein, (V600E)B-Raf, produced by this gene is important in helping mole cells survive and grow but it is unable to form melanomas on its own. Nearly 90 percent of all moles have the mutant protein but it is not fully clear why only some of them turn into melanomas.

Robertson and his colleagues have found that a second protein produced by Akt3 regulates the activity of the mutated B-Raf, which aids the development of melanoma.

"What we have found is a second event that is necessary for melanomas to develop," added Robertson, whose findings are reported in the May 1 issue of the journal Cancer Research.

While comparing proteins within normal moles and human melanoma cells, the Penn State researchers noticed that the two proteins were communicating with one another only among melanoma cells but not among normal cells.

When the Akt3 protein was put into cells in conjunction with the mutant B-Raf gene, they were better able to form melanomas compared to cells just containing the mutant B-Raf gene.

"This tells us that you can have a mole but it cannot turn into melanoma without the presence of the Akt3 protein," explained Robertson.

While it is still unclear what brings the B-Raf and Akt3 proteins together, the Penn State researchers say they now have a better understanding of how these two proteins interact to cause melanoma.

The initial mutation of the B-Raf gene helps to create moles, but high levels of B-Raf activity due to the mutation prevents the cells from becoming a melanoma. It is only when the Akt3 protein is present in those cells and communicates with B-Raf that it lower its activity, thereby creating favorable conditions within the mole for cells to multiply, and allow them to turn into a melanoma.

Robertson said the discovery could pave the way for newer and more effective treatments for melanoma.

"We have shown that if we target the two proteins separately, it somewhat inhibits the development of tumors but if we target them together, the development of tumors gets inhibited significantly," he added. "It validates these proteins as key targets for effective melanoma therapy."

Robertson envisions that future physicians could look at blood samples from melanoma patients containing melanoma cells and determine whether the two proteins are in their cells. The patients could then receive drugs that target these proteins to more effectively treat their disease. It would be personalized cancer treatment that would be more effective and less toxic with fewer side effects, the Penn State researcher explained.

"In the search for a cure for melanoma, we are now closer because we know that we need to target these two proteins in order to have a dramatic impact on the development of melanoma," Robertson added.

For patients, this means that in the future, some new drug could target these proteins to treat advanced disease or be added to sunscreen lotion, for instance, that would prevent Akt3 functioning in the cell. It would not only help control a tumor, but also prevent one as well.


'/>"/>

Contact: Amitabh Avasthi
axa47@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

Related medicine news :

1. The American Psychiatric Associations Awards for Young Scientists Encourage Research Expertise in China
2. Scientists identify gatekeepers of breast cancer transition to invasive disease
3. Scientists at Yale provide explanation for how cancer spreads
4. Brookhaven scientists explore brains reaction to potent hallucinogen
5. Scientists Discover How Stomach Tumors Form
6. U.S. Scientists Receive Japan Prize on April 23, 2008
7. Scientists discover a mechanism that can send cells on the road to cancer
8. Scientists identify novel way to prevent cardiac fibrosis
9. Scientists Explore Human Gene Pool With Help From Microsoft Research
10. Scientists obtain anticancer medicines from the elecampe, a wild plant growing in the Mediterranean
11. Jefferson scientists discovery may help explain smoking-pancreatic cancer link
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/10/2016)... WASHINGTON, D.C. (PRWEB) , ... December 10, 2016 ... ... children’s Christmas wish lists for Santa are all sources of external stimuli that ... season. For some, the added pressure to spread holiday cheer through gifts, food ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... ... December 09, 2016 , ... ... aural rehabilitation—provided by audiologists—to remain a critical part of public access to hearing ... Administration (FDA) announced this week that, starting immediately, it would no ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... ... December 09, 2016 , ... The Justin Veatch Fund ... (NCADD) is recommending the film Whispering Spirits and its discussion guide for ... as an education tool in the war against teen drug abuse. NCADD is ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... ... December 09, 2016 , ... MEDI+SIGN®, a provider of ... a new solution for Emergency Departments (ED) has been added to their portfolio. ... Department examination rooms, and with a simplified pallet of information available to the ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... 08, 2016 , ... After enjoying record-breaking attendance at its ... its 33rd Annual Issues & Research Conference, March 2-3, 2017, at the ... conference is “Persistent Challenges and New Opportunities: Using Research to Accelerate the Dialogue." ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/9/2016)... Mass. , Dec. 9, 2016 MSD, ... and supply chain solutions to alternate site health care ... with First Choice Medical Supply ("First Choice"), a privately ... servicing the skilled nursing and home health segments. We ... family. This compelling transaction will deliver ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... 2016   Hudes Laser Aesthetica announced ... multi-wavelength Astanza Trinity laser and Astanza Liberty IPL ... tattoo removal, IPL hair removal, pigmented and vascular ... Laser Aesthetica is setting high standards for aesthetic ... promises to deliver effective, long-lasting results. ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... ... forecasts the global optical transceiver market to grow at a CAGR ... covers the present scenario and the growth prospects of the global ... report considers the revenue generated from the shipment of optical transceivers ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: