Researchers have identified a new method for selectively killing metastatic melanoma cells, a discovery that could lead to new areas of drug development, according to a study published in the August 4 print issue of the journal Cancer Cell.
The international team of researchers, from Virginia Commonwealth University and the Spanish National Cancer Research Center in Madrid, found that activation of a specific molecular pathway triggers melanoma cells to begin a process of self-destruction, through self-digestion and programmed cell death.
“The present research provides a path that could lead—with further studies and a phase I clinical trial for safety—to the development of a strategy that energizes the immune system to destroy this highly aggressive cancer,” says Paul B. Fisher, MPh, PhD, lead investigator from VCU.
The work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation, the Spanish Association Against Cancer, and the Spanish National Cancer Research Center.
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