Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

P-Rex1 protein key to melanoma metastasis

Date:
November 22, 2011
Source:
University of North Carolina School of Medicine
Summary:
Researchers have identified a protein, called P-Rex1, that is key to the movement of cells called melanoblasts. When these cells experience uncontrolled growth, melanoma develops.

Researchers from UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center are part of a team that has identified a protein, called P-Rex1, that is key to the movement of cells called melanoblasts. When these cells experience uncontrolled growth, melanoma develops.

Melanoma is one of the only forms of cancer that is still on the rise and is one of the most common forms of cancer in young adults. The incidence of melanoma in women under age 30 has increased more than 50 percent since 1980. Metastases are the major cause of death from melanoma.

The team found that mice lacking the P-Rex1 protein are resistant to melanoma metastases. When researchers tested human melanoma cells and tumor tissue for the protein, P-Rex1 was elevated in the majority of cases -- a clue that the protein plays an important role in the cancer's spread. Their findings were published recently in the journal Nature Communications.

"We know that mutations in a gene called BRAF are important for the development of melanoma and several years ago we published a collaborative paper listing 82 proteins that seem to be affected by this genetic pathway. From that list, we focused on P-Rex1 in collaboration with Dr. Nancy Thomas here at UNC and researchers in the United Kingdom," says Channing Der, PhD, a member of the UNC research team. Der is Kenan Professor of pharmacology at UNC-Chapel Hill and member of UNC Lineberger.

A drug approved this summer, vemurafenib, is the first treatment directed at the BRAF mutation. Clinical trials found that the treatment offers a significant survival benefit.

"We think that vemurafenib may work, in part, by blocking the up-regulation of P-Rex1," Der adds.

"As a physician and scientist, I know firsthand the frustration of having very limited therapeutic options to offer to patients with metastatic melanoma," says Nancy Thomas, MD, PhD, whose laboratory analyzed the protein's expression in human cells. "Pinpointing that P-Rex1 plays a key role in metastasis gives us a better understanding of how vemurafenib may work and a target for developing new treatments," she adds.

Thomas is a professor of dermatology and member of UNC Lineberger.

The work at UNC Lineberger was led by Katherine Pedone, PhD, a postdoctoral fellow in Der's laboratory. Other team members were Alexander Finn, MD, PhD, Pamela Groben, MD, Honglin Hao, and Craig Carson, PhD.

This study included Owen Sansom, PhD and collaborators at the Beatson Institute and other collaborators in the UK, France, Canada and Switzerland.

The research was supported by the Association of International Cancer, National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, Cancer Research UK and Target-Melanoma. Initial support at UNC was provided by the University Cancer Research Fund.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina School of Medicine. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Colin R. Lindsay, Samuel Lawn, Andrew D. Campbell, William J. Faller, Florian Rambow, Richard L. Mort, Paul Timpson, Ang Li, Patrizia Cammareri, Rachel A. Ridgway, Jennifer P. Morton, Brendan Doyle, Shauna Hegarty, Mairin Rafferty, Ian G. Murphy, Enda W. McDermott, Kieran Sheahan, Katherine Pedone, Alexander J. Finn, Pamela A. Groben, Nancy E. Thomas, Honglin Hao, Craig Carson, Jim C. Norman, Laura M. Machesky, William M. Gallagher, Ian J. Jackson, Leon Van Kempen, Friedrich Beermann, Channing Der, Lionel Larue, Heidi C. Welch, Brad W. Ozanne, Owen J. Sansom. P-Rex1 is required for efficient melanoblast migration and melanoma metastasis. Nature Communications, 2011; 2: 555 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms1560

Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "P-Rex1 protein key to melanoma metastasis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 November 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111122112958.htm>.
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. (2011, November 22). P-Rex1 protein key to melanoma metastasis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111122112958.htm
University of North Carolina School of Medicine. "P-Rex1 protein key to melanoma metastasis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111122112958.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) Richard van As lost all fingers on his right hand in a woodworking accident. Now, he's used the incident to create a prosthetic to help hundreds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins