In a new study, researchers found that a new drug may starve the drug resistance of melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
The research was done by a team from Oregon State University and Oregon Health & Science University.
In the United States alone, almost 100,000 new melanoma cases will be diagnosed this year and more than 7,000 melanoma patients may die.
Nationwide, melanoma is the fifth-most common cancer and its incidence is on the rise.
Oregon ranks 15th in the U.S. in per-capita diagnoses, with melanoma afflicting 27 out of every 100,000 Oregonians.
Men are more likely to develop melanoma than women. The death rate varies by race and ethnicity and is highest among white people.
One of the most aggressive cancers, melanoma kills by spreading to other organs such as the liver, lungs, and brain.
In the study, the team looked for ways to combat the drug resistance that metastatic melanoma cells often quickly develop.
They directed their efforts toward melanoma metabolism, which is the chemical processes the cells rely on to thrive.
Cancer cells have a metabolism that’s been altered from that of normal cells.
The scientists tested almost 9,000 compounds, some of the drugs already approved by the FDA.
They found that two compounds, deguelin, and rotenone, naturally occurring pesticides produced by many plant species, interfered with the cancer cells’ metabolism.
Further testing with compound deguelin showed that it could inhibit oxygen consumption in the cancer cells’ mitochondria and effectively starve the cells of energy.
The finding may provide a very attractive treatment option for metastatic melanoma.
The team says this drug has been known as a treatment for other cancer types and hopefully it could benefit skin cancer patients soon.
The lead author of the study is Arup Indra, associate professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy.
The study is published in the journal Molecular Carcinogenesis.
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