Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

'Co-conspirator' cells could hold key to melanoma prediction, prevention

31.08.2010
New research on how skin cancer begins has identified adjacent cancer cells that scientists are calling “co-conspirators” in the genesis of melanoma, in findings that could someday hold the key to predicting, preventing and stopping this hard-to-treat cancer before it spreads.

Changes in the body’s pigment-producing cells, where melanoma - the most dangerous form of skin cancer - takes hold are only part of the story, according to a new study by researchers from Oregon State University.

Other skin cells in what’s called the “microenvironment” of the cancer site also play a key role, scientists say.

These adjacent cells, which are called keratinocytes, are actually the driver for the changes and malignant transformation in the pigment-producing cells, which are called melanocytes,” said Arup Indra, an assistant professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy.

“So there are two avenues - the pigment-producing cells where the cancer develops, and the adjacent skin cells which ‘talk to’ the pigment-producing cells in the form of signals,” Indra said. “They work in coordination, they are partners in crime.”

Research was done with both animal models and human samples, from individuals who carry a mutation in a gene called Cdk4, which is an inherited predisposition to melanoma that has turned up in families in Norway, France, Australia and England.

The study found that a protein called RXR-alpha in skin keratinocytes appears to protect pigment cells from damage, and prevent them from progressing to invasive melanoma.

This protein in skin cells sends chemical signals to the adjacent pigment cells, Indra said. The study revealed that these signals can, in effect, prevent or block the abnormal proliferation of pigment-producing cells in laboratory mice. Conversely, when the protein was removed or repressed, melanoma cells became aggressive and invaded the animals’ lymph nodes.

However, both the protective protein and pigment cells can suffer damage from chemical toxins or ultraviolet sunlight in the pigment cells, creating a “double-edged sword” in melanoma’s complex etiology, according to Indra.

To study melanoma cells in isolation from their surrounding biochemical and molecular environment is to miss the intricate series of related interactions that give rise to the disease, he said.

The finding could lead to promising new prevention tools down the road, Indra said.

“Better understanding this process will help us design new and novel strategies for prevention and, possibly, a cure,” Indra said. “This could be a predictive prognostic tool for discovering melanoma predisposition in humans. And that could lead to better and earlier diagnostics.”

This study was featured on the current cover of the journal Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research. It was funded by the National Institutes of Health.

About the OSU College of Pharmacy: The College of Pharmacy prepares students of today to be the pharmacy practitioners and pharmaceutical sciences researchers of tomorrow by contributing to improved health, advancing patient care and the discovery and understanding of medicines.

Arup Indra | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.oregonstate.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Staying in Shape
16.08.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für molekulare Zellbiologie und Genetik

nachricht Chips, light and coding moves the front line in beating bacteria
16.08.2018 | Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Graduate University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Staying in Shape

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Diving robots find Antarctic seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide in winter

16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Protein droplets keep neurons at the ready and immune system in balance

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>