Although melanoma is one of the least common types of skin cancer, representing only about 2% of skin cancer cases, it is one of the most deadly. Anurag Singh, an Indian-origin researcher in the US, has won a $150,000 grant to study genes linked to this deadly melanoma skin cancer.
Singh is an assistant professor of pharmacology and medicine at Boston University. He won the grant from the Melanoma Research Alliance to study as to why some forms of melanoma with a mutated gene called NRAS, do not respond to targeted treatment.
‘Melanoma is one of the most deadliest type of skin cancer. Researcher Anurag Singh has won a grant to study as to why some forms of melanoma with a mutated gene called NRAS, do not respond to targeted treatment.’
Singh said, "The RAS mutation itself is not sufficient to cause a full-blown tumor. It creates a vulnerable state that can progress to a malignant state."
Singh's laboratory studies how two forms of the RAS gene, NRAS and KRAS, interact and cooperate with other genes to form gene networks, analogous to computer circuits. The RAS mutations prevalent in melanoma also appear in pancreatic and colon cancer. Singh has already discovered that melanomas with NRAS mutations come in at least two different flavors.
Singh said, "We have identified two major types of NRAS networks in melanoma. We hypothesize that these subtypes can be treated with selective targeted anti-cancer agents or precision medicines. We hope to pinpoint vulnerabilities that can be blocked with chemotherapy."