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Study discovers DNA biomarker for deadly melanoma

Posted on 14/09/2012 in Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

Scientists have discovered specific genome data associated with the deadly skin cancer melanoma, which could be used as the basis for new diagnostic and treatment options.

A Brigham and Women’s Hospital team found that certain biochemical elements in the DNA of normal pigment-producing skin cells and benign mole cells are absent in cancerous cells.

Not only does this insight mean that the loss of these methyl groups could be used as a diagnostic red flag for melanoma, but the scientists were also able to devise a means of repairing the associated biochemical defect, thus reversing the tumour cell growth.

The ability to counteract abnormalities surrounding mutated DNA among cancer patients is a key area of research, given that cancer is typically seen as a genetic disease driven by permanent DNA sequence defects.

Dr Anthony Carter, of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences, said: “This work is a prime example of how basic research on mechanisms of epigenetic regulation can yield clinically significant insights that hold great promise for diagnosing and treating cancer.”

Though melanoma is relatively rare, making up around ten percent of NHS skin cancer cases, it remains the deadliest form of this disease.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-801449834-ADNFCR

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