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Protein Can Alter Fight Against Melanoma

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According to the world Health Organization 48,000 people die from malignant melanoma every year.  It is more frequently found in women and particularly among Caucasians who live in a sunny climate. The Journal Nature just published a new study from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine that may have discovered a breakthrough in the fight against this deadly disease.  Mount Sinai researchers have discovered that a specific protein can suppress the gene responsible for the cancer growth. The malignant gene is known as the oncogene. If it can be regulated, then melanoma can be treated or prevented. The researchers found that the presence of the protein, macroH2A, was directly related to the growth of melanoma. As the disease became more aggressive, macroH2A levels decreased. They experimented by removing the protein from the system, and found that the melanoma progressed more rapidly in both growth and metastasis. Then they added the protein back, which halted the aggressive melanoma growth. Hopefully, this line of research will prove to be successful. It would be a major breakthrough if melanoma can be treated with a simple injection of proteins. Today’s typical treatments are not nearly as preferable to patients. They consist of surgically removing the tumor, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy.  The Journal of Nature article can be found at http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v468/n7327/full/nature09590.html

Photo Credit: John Vlahakis

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