Researchers of Tel Aviv University discovered the mechanism of melanoma spread to other organs

According to the article published in the journal Nature Cell Biology, Israeli scientists found that before spreading to other organs, melanoma tumor sends tiny bubbles containing microRNA molecule. They induce morphological changes in the skin’s dermis in preparation for receiving and transporting the cancer cells. The researchers also found chemicals that can stop the process and thus can identify promising drugs to combat the deadly disease.


Prof. Schachter – Head of Melanoma Institute – Doctor Second Opinion Online


Study leader Dr. Kamrit Levy, department of human molecular genetics and Biochemistry, Sackler medical school, Tel Aviv University, says that the threat of melanoma is not in the original tumor, which appears on the skin, but in its metastasis (tumor cells sent to colonize the vital organs such as the brain, lungs, liver and bones). She says: “We have discovered how cancer spreads to distant organs, and found ways to stop the process before the metastatic stage.”


Detect changes in the morphology of the dermis (inner layer of the skin) in all pathology samples from the early stages to invasive, the task of researchers was to find out what these changes are, and how they are associated with melanoma.


In the ensuing investigation, the group was able to detect and block the central mechanism of melanoma metastasis.


According to Dr. Levy, scientists have known for years that melanoma is formed in the outer layer of skin, the epidermis. At this early stage the cancer can not send their cells, because it has no access to blood vessels. In the absence of blood vessels in the epidermis, the tumor must first be contacted with abundant blood vessels passing through the dermis. “We found that before the cancer itself intrudes into the dermis, it sends out tiny bubbles containing microRNA molecules” – says Levy. “They induce morphological changes in the dermis in preparation for receiving and transporting the cancer cells. Then it became clear that blocking vesicles, we could stop the disease in general. ”


Finding the mechanism, the researchers began to look for substances that could interfere with and block the process at the earliest stages. They found two such chemicals: single (SB202190) inhibits vesicle delivery of melanoma tumors in the dermis; and the other (U0126) prevents the morphological changes in the dermis even after the arrival of the vesicles. Both substances have been successfully tested in the laboratory and may serve as a promising candidate for future drugs. In addition, changes in the dermis, the vesicles themselves and also can be used as strong indicators for early diagnosis of melanoma.




Melanoma miRNA trafficking controlls tumor primary niche formation.
Shani Dror, Laureen Sander, Hila Schwartz, Danna Sheinboim, Aviv Barzilai, Yuval Dishon, Sebastien Apcher, Tamar Golan, Shoshana Greenberger, Iris Barshack, Hagar Malcov, Alona Zilberberg, Lotan Levin, Michelle Nessling, Yael Friedmann, Vivien Igras, Ohad Barzilay , Hananya Vaknine, Ronen Brenner, Assaf Zinger, Avi Schroeder, Pinchas Gonen, Mehdi Khaled, Neta Erez, Jörg D. Hoheisel et al, Nature Cell Biology, doi:. 10.1038 / ncb3399, published online 22 August 2016.






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