Researchers at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Childrens Hospital Boston have discovered that malignant melanoma, the potentially lethal skin cancer, cant grow without a steady supply of a protein that normal cells can do without.
The findings, which are published in the December issue of Cancer Cell, suggest that drugs that cut off melanoma cells supply of the protein, called CDK2, might curb the growth of the dangerous skin cancer in patients, and with relatively low toxicity. In theory, such a drug would leave normal cells unharmed and have many fewer side effects compared to standard chemotherapy.
Working with melanoma cells grown in the laboratory, the researchers, led by David E. Fisher, MD, PhD, Director of the Melanoma Program at Dana-Farber and the papers senior author, showed that adding a chemical that quashed the activity of CDK2, the gene that manufactures CDK2 protein, dramatically slowed the growth and proliferation of the cancer cells. Unlike conventional chemotherapy drugs, a CDK2 inhibitor drug wouldnt be aimed at killing melanoma cells, only halting their growth.
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