A team of researchers led by Dr Pierre Close, WELBIO researcher at the ULiège GIGA Institute and Dr Francesca Rapino has uncovered a new therapeutic opportunity in the treatment of malignant melanoma that acquired resistance to targeted therapies. In collaboration with researchers from VIB, they have revealed that malignant melanoma can reprogram their protein synthesis machinery and become addicted to a new family of enzymes that modify transfer RNAs during acquired resistance. Strikingly, the inhibition of these molecules synergies with targeted therapies to produce a strong anti-tumoral effect. These new findings, published in Nature, will be key in the development of improved diagnostic tools and melanoma treatment.
Resistance to therapy is the principal limitation of current treatment of aggressive cancers such as malignant melanoma. Insurgence of resistance relates to the capability of tumor cells to circumvent the stress induced by the treatment. In order to survive, cancer cells develop a series of adaptation mechanisms through rewiring fundamental processes. Among those, reprogramming of mRNA translation favors the expression of proteins essential for tumor development. The lab of Dr. Close has been studying the contribution of wobble tRNA modification in cancer development through regulation of selective mRNA translation for a few
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