Scientists have made steps towards understanding the genetic changes found in various types of tumour. William R. Sellers and colleagues report a significant advance in this area in the 07 July 2005 issue of Nature (Vol. 436, No. 7047, pp. 116-121). The researchers used DNA chips that allow ultra-high resolution genetic analyses. This helped them to find a distinct amplification of the gene encoding MITF (microphthalmia-associated transcription factor) in melanoma cells.
They also found that increased amounts of this master regulatory protein could explain why these cancerous cells show such high resistance to conventional melanoma chemotherapy. The authors believe that targeting MITF could offer new options to treat cancer,
and other experts agree.
"Over-reliance on lineage-defining factors such as MITF could be a weak link in an otherwise unbreakable chain, providing an opportunity well worth exploiting therapeutically," writes Glenn Merlino in an accompanying News and Views article.
William R Sellers Dana Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, USA)
Glenn Merlino (National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, USA)
(C) Nature press release.
Message posted by: Trevor M. D'Souza