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Discovery may lead to targeted melanoma therapies

(MEDICAL PRESS) Mount Sinai — Melanoma patients with high levels of a protein that controls the expression of pro-growth genes are less likely to survive, according to a study led by researchers at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and published online in the journal Molecular Cell.

The research team found that the protein, called H2A.Z.2, promotes the  seen in  as they develop into difficult-to-treat tumors. H2A.Z.2 is part of the chromosome structure that packages genes, and has the ability to switch them on off. Having high levels of this protein aberrantly activates growth-promoting genes in melanoma cells.

An emerging theory in  is that abnormal growth may result not only from unfortunate, mutations in patients’ genes, but also from  that turn genes on and off. In the current study, authors found that blocking the functions of H2A.Z.2, either alone or in combination with cancer therapies, effectively blocked tumor growth and killed melanoma cells.

Source: Discovery may lead to targeted melanoma therapies