Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists identify interacting proteins key to melanoma development, treatment

08.05.2008
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.

... more about:
»Akt3 »B-Raf »Key »Mutant »Protein »Robertson »Treatment »melanoma »mole

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.

Amitabh Avasthi | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psu.edu

Further reports about: Akt3 B-Raf Key Mutant Protein Robertson Treatment melanoma mole

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht How brains surrender to sleep
23.06.2017 | IMP - Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pathologie GmbH

nachricht A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation
22.06.2017 | Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 100-year-old physics problem has been solved at EPFL

23.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Equipping form with function

23.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>