by Madhumathi Palaniappan on  January 5, 2017 at 3:21 PM Health Watch
  • Melanoma is one of the serious types of cancer in the skin.
  • New drug compound was found to reduce the spread of melanoma cells by up to 90%.
  • The drug compound was found to stop the triggering Myocardin-related transcription factors (MRTFs) proteins and is effective in the treatment of skin cancer.

A new chemical compound and potential drug was found to reduce the spread of melanoma cells by upto 90%, finds a recent study from the Michigan State University.

The research findings were published in the journal Molecular Cancer Therapeutics.
New Promising Drug Halts The Spread of Melanoma By 90%

The drug molecule may go behind the gene's ability to produce RNA and proteins in skin cancer and increases the spread of tumor.

The gene activity may cause the disease to spread but however, the drug molecule was found to suppress the growth of the tumor.

Richard Neubig, a pharmacology professor and co-author of the study, said, "It's been a challenge developing small-molecule drugs that can block this gene activity that works as a signaling mechanism known to be important in melanoma progression."

"Our chemical compound is actually the same one that we've been working on to potentially treat the disease scleroderma, which now we've found works effectively on this type of cancer."

Small molecule drugs constitute about 90% of the drug, Kate Appleton, a postdoctoral student, said the findings may help to be effective in battling the skin cancer.

Research Findings
  • The small molecule like drug compound was able to stop proteins, known as Myocardin-related transcription factors (MRTFs) and were found to initiate gene transcription in melanoma cells.
  • These proteins were triggered by another protein called RhoC or Ras homology C and was found to spread the disease in the body.
  • The drug compound reduced the migration of melanoma cells by 85 - 90%.
  • The drug compound reduced the tumors specifically in the lungs of the mice that were injected with human melanoma cells.
Neubig, said, "We used intact melanoma cells to screen for our chemical inhibitors."

"This allowed us to find compounds that could block anywhere along this RhoC pathway."

Blocking the entire pathway has led to the discovery of finding the MRTF signaling protein as a new target.

The author also said that finding patients who have the pathway turned on may help determine the patients who benefit from the drug.

Appleton, said, "The effect of our compounds on turning off this melanoma cell growth and progression is much stronger when the pathway is activated."

"We could look for the activation of the MRTF proteins as a biomarker to determine risk, especially for those in early-stage melanoma."

Melanoma is one of the serious types of skin cancer. This can be determined by a change in the shape, size or color of the skin.

According to the American Cancer Society, 76,380 cases of melanoma will be diagnosed in the year 2016 for melanoma.

Appleton, said, "Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer with around 76,000 new cases a year in the United States."

"One reason the disease is so fatal is that it can spread throughout the body very quickly and attack distant organs such as the brain and lungs."

Neubig, said, that if the disease is caught up early, the chance of death is only 2% while in the late stages it would rise up to 84%.

The author also concluded that since most of the people die due to melanoma, our compounds are capable of blocking cancer migration and increase patient survival.

Facts on Melanoma
  • Melanoma is the third most common cancer in women and second most common cancer among men.
  • Melanoma is 20 times more common in whites than African Americans.
  • Aging is a risk factor for melanoma.
  • People below the age of 45 are noted for 25% of melanoma cases.

Source: Medindia

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