Inhibition of the cellular enzyme thymine DNA glycosylase (TDG) may be an effective treatment for melanoma, according to research published recently in the journal Oncogene.

The study describes how inhibition of TDG, known for its role in cell repair and proliferation, may be used to trigger cell death of cancerous melanoma cells and halt tumor growth, the researchers note in a media release.

“These findings suggest that TDG may provide critical functions specific to cancer cells that make it highly suitable as an anti-melanoma drug target,” senior author Alfonso Bellacosa, MD, PhD, professor of cancer epigenetics at Fox Chase Cancer Center at Temple University, says.

“By potentially disrupting both DNA repair and the epigenetic state, targeting TDG may represent a completely new approach to melanoma therapy.”

Researchers at the Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) and the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research, directed by Antonio Giordano, MD, PhD, also contributed to the study at Temple University. Scientists at SHRO assisted with statistical analysis of animal model data used in the study, among other things.

“This is an important study that may lead to the identification of powerful TDG inhibitors for pre-clinical and clinical studies,” Giordano states, the release continues. “A few pharmaceutical companies have already shown a lot of interest and enthusiasm toward this approach.”

The research was conducted by lead authors Pietro Mancuso, PhD, and Rossella Tricarico, PhD, in Bellacosa’s lab at Fox Chase Cancer Center, with a team of international collaborators including scientists at the Curie Institute, France, and at the University of Siena, Italy.

For more information about the study, visit Fox Chase Cancer Center.

[Source(s): Sbarro Health Research Association, Newswise]