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Home News and Update Year 2010 Cells Aiding Melanoma `Identified'

Cells Aiding Melanoma `Identified'

Indian Express
01 September 2010
Washington, DC USA

IN WHAT may pave the way for preventing melanoma, an Indian-origin scientist-led research team claims to have identified "co-conspirator" cells in the genesis of this dangerous form of skin cancer.

Arup Indra and colleagues at Oregon State University have found that changes in the body’s pigment-producing cells, where melanoma takes hold, are only part of the story – other skin cells in what’s called the "microenvironment" of cancer site also play a key role, Biology & Nature journal reports.

Indra said, "These adjacent cells, which are called keratinocytes, are actually the driver for the changes and malignant transformation in the pigment-producing cells, which are called melanocytes.

So there are two avenues – the pigment-producing cells where the cancer develops, and the adjacent skin cells which ‘talk to’ the pigmentproducing cells in the form of signals. They work in coordination, they’re partners in crime." Scientists found a protein called RXR-alpha in skin keratinocytes that appears to protect pigment cells and prevent them from progressing to invasive melanoma.

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