A study published in the journal ‘Cancer Research’ reveals that scientists from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have discovered a new drug that could possibly treat deadly forms of skin cancer such as melanoma and would prevent its resurgence.
The new drug named SBI–756 targets a specific molecular machine known as the translation initiation complex that plays a critical role in a translating messenger RNA (mRNA) into proteins. In cancer cells, the translation initiation complex is impaired, which leads to extra protein production. This aids in tumour growth. SBI–756 causes the translation complex to dissociate, suppressing the melanoma cell growth.
At present, about 50% of the melanomas are caused by mutations in a specific gene called BRAF. Patients with this condition are generally prescribed vemurafenib that inhibits BRAF and shrinks tumours. However, the tumours may resurface after weeks, months or years. Researchers found out that if vemurafenib is administered with SBI–756, then the tumours would disappear and never return, resurface or form.