Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Pharma Outsourcing
Scientific Community
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Missing Pieces of DNA Structure is a Red Flag for Deadly Skin Cancer

Published: Monday, September 17, 2012
Last Updated: Monday, September 17, 2012
Bookmark and Share
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and is the leading cause of death from skin disease. Rates are steadily increasing, and although risk increases with age, melanoma is now frequently seen in young people.

But what if we could pinpoint when seemingly innocuous skin pigment cells mutate into melanoma? Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) have achieved this. Teams led by Yujiang Geno Shi, PhD, from BWH's Department of Medicine, and George F. Murphy, MD, from BWH's Department of Pathology have discovered a new biomarker for the lethal disease. The findings offer novel opportunities for skin cancer diagnostics, treatment and prevention.

The study will be published on September 14, 2012 in Cell.

"Dr. Shi and colleagues have discovered an exciting new connection between the loss of a specific chemical mark in the genome and the development of melanoma," said Anthony Carter, PhD, of the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of General Medical Sciences, which mainly funded the research. "This work is a prime example of how basic research on mechanisms of epigenetic regulation can yield clinically significant insights that hold great promise for diagnosing and treating cancer."

The researchers found that certain biochemical elements in the DNA of normal pigment-producing skin cells and benign mole cells are absent in melanoma cells. Loss of these methyl groups-known as 5-hmC-in skin cells serves as a key indicator for malignant melanoma. Loss corresponded to more advanced stages of melanoma as well as clinical outcome.

Strikingly, researchers were able to reverse melanoma growth in pre-clinical studies. When the researchers introduced enzymes responsible for 5-hmC formation to melanoma cells lacking the biochemical element, they saw that the cells stopped growing.

"It is difficult to repair the mutations in the actual DNA sequence that are believed to cause cancer," said Christine Lian, MD, a physician scientist in the Department of Pathology at BWH and one of the lead authors. "So having discovered that we can reverse tumor cell growth by potentially repairing a biochemical defect that exists-not within the sequence-but just outside of it on the DNA structure, provides a promising new melanoma treatment approach for the medical community to explore."

Because cancer is traditionally regarded as a genetic disease involving permanent defects that directly affects the DNA sequence, this new finding of a potentially reversible abnormality that surrounds the DNA (thus termed epigenetic) is a hot topic in cancer research, according to the researchers.

In the United States, melanoma is the fifth most common type of new cancer diagnosis in men and the seventh most common type in women. The National Cancer Institute estimates that in 2012 there will be 76,250 new cases and 9,180 deaths in the United States due to melanoma.

The Shi laboratory pioneers studies in both basic chromatin biology and translational epigenetic research at the Endocrine Division, BWH Department of Medicine, and collaborates with Dr. Murphy's laboratory that focuses on melanoma biology in the Program for Dermatopathology, BWH Department of Pathology. This pre-clinical study, which shows a key role for epigenetics in melanoma development and progression, also enlisted the support of an international team of investigators. The findings will provide insight for future functional, pre-clinical studies of 5-hmC in cancer biology.


Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,700+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.


Scientific News
Immunotherapy Agent Benefits Patients with Drug-Resistant Multiple Myeloma in First Human Trial
Daratumumab proved generally safe in patients, even at the highest doses.
NIH Study Shows No Benefit of Omega-3 Supplements for Cognitive Decline
Research was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
NIH Launches Human RSV Study
Study aims to understand infection in healthy adults to aid development of RSV medicines, vaccines.
Computerized Flexible Needles Prove Themselves in Biological Tissue
The advantage of the system is that you can avoid obstacles with the needles or critical tissues and that the system during the insertion of the needle in real time can adjust the path if, for example, the tissue deforms.
DARWIN 2 24-week Monotherapy Data in RA Confirm Previous Results
Safety profile in DARWIN 2 consistent with previous filgotinib RA studies.
Researchers Publish Landmark “Basket Study”
Researchers from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) have announced results from the first published basket study, a new form of clinical trial design that explores responses to drugs based on the specific mutations in patients’ tumors rather than where their cancer originated.
Agricultural Intervention Improves HIV Outcomes
A multifaceted farming intervention can reduce food insecurity while improving HIV outcomes in patients in Kenya, according to a randomized, controlled trial led by researchers at UC San Francisco.
Overdose of Vitamin D in Teenagers May Lead to Increased Cholesterol Levels
Dosing obese teens with vitamin D shows no benefits for their heart health or diabetes risk, and could have the unintended consequences of increasing cholesterol and fat-storing triglycerides. These are the latest findings in a series of Mayo Clinic studies in childhood obesity.
Phase 2 Trials Underway for New Single Dose Malaria Treatment
The new drug, which prevents the malaria parasite from reproducing and spreading, is now undergoing Phase II clinical trials in humans.
Promising Drug for Parkinson's Disease
A drug which has already been in use for decades to treat liver disease could be an effective treatment to slow down progression of Parkinson’s disease, scientists from the University of Sheffield have discovered.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
SELECTBIO

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,700+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FREE!