Can a Protein Marker Predict the Spread of Malignant Melanoma?

Malignant Melanoma and Protein MarkerMalignant Melanoma: A  new study published in Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research concluded that a new protein, megalin, has been found in aggressive malignant cells and might be useful to predict whether and how the cancer will spread and how spread can be prevented. Currently it is not possible to predict which malignant melanomas will spread and it is difficult to eliminate because traditional treatments such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy are mostly ineffective with only 10 percent of patients surviving after reaching an advanced stage with distant metastases. The researchers said “Our studies have shown that the protein megalin is almost always detectable in malignant melanomas, while it is rarely found in the benign counterparts. We see a clear trend that the more megalin is present, the faster the cells divide and the better they are at surviving. This therefore indicates that a high level of megalin in a malignant melanoma should be seen as a warning of particular aggressive cancer cells with extremely good conditions for spreading.” They further said “It is a new and interesting marker that no-one has thought of before……….In a best case scenario, this discovery can pinpoint those patients who will experience a relapsse, and identify which treatment will benefit which patient the most.”

Regarding treatment the researchers say “In general, protein is present at the surface of cells and can absorb many things from the surroundings such as nutrients.  So it is therefore well suited for targeted treatment, either medicine affecting the protein and its functioning thereby inhibiting the proliferation of the cancer cells and their survival, or for transporting lethal drugs into the cancer cells. Since the protein is not found in all of the cells in our body, but in a limited number of places in a healthy individual. this tyoe of treatment can be expected to have less side-effects than the treatment  regime we can offer today.”  More research is ongoing.



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