Protecting the Skin You’re In

Researchers identify key melanoma gene, which may become a target for drug treatment

(RxWiki News) A research team has unearthed one of the key players behind drug resistance in melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.

Led by scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, the research team pinpointed a novel cancer gene called COT and uncovered the signals it uses to drive melanoma. The finding suggests the gene may be a new potential drug target, while laying the groundwork for a generalized approach to identifying the molecular underpinnings of drug resistance in other cancers.

Researchers looked for additional proof of the role of COT in melanoma drug resistance and found "double positive" cells, further indicating that the cancer cells are indeed resistant to the effects of newer treatments.

“In melanoma as well as several other cancers, there is a critical need to understand resistance mechanisms, which will enable us to be smarter up front in designing drugs that can yield more lasting clinical responses,” said senior author Levi Garraway, a medical oncologist and assistant professor at Dana-Farber and Harvard Medical School.

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Review Date: 
November 25, 2010