Scientists Discover Bacterium Producing Anti-melanoma Molecules

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Scientists discover a soil-dwelling bacterium with potential to produce molecules inducing death of melanoma cells, as reported by a new study published in Journal of Biological Chemistry on January 4, 2018.

Demand for targeted cancer therapy has increased over the recent past due to increasing incidence of life-threatening cancers around the globe such as melanoma, as per targeted cancer therapies market report published by Coherent Market Insights.

A team of researchers at Oregon State University found that the natural product, attempted to study the effects of mensacarcin on melanoma.

“Mensacarcin has potent anticancer activity, with selectivity against melanoma cells. It shows powerful anti-proliferative effects in all tested cancer cell lines in the U.S. Cancer Institute’s cell line panel, but inhibition of cell growth is accompanied by fast progression into cell death in only a small number of cell lines, such as melanoma cells.” a lead author of the study said.

The disease causes deaths among people of all race, gender, and ethnicity, with men and white people being more susceptible. Mitochondria is important in signaling of dead cells as well, and are thus being targeted as a potential target for therapy, as cancer cell mitochondria are structurally and functionally different from mitochondria of non-cancerous cells.

“The probe was localized to mitochondria within 20 minutes of treatment. The localization together with mensacarcin’s unusual metabolic effects in melanoma cells provide evidence that mensacarcin targets mitochondria.” Said Loesgen, an author of the study.

Mensacarcin was found to rapidly alter mitochondrial pathways, after subsequent experimentation, resulting in mitochondrial dysfunction. This dysfunction is known to activate pathways to apoptosis – programmed cell death.

“Flow cytometry identified a large population of apoptotic melanoma cells, and single-cell electrophoresis indicated that mensacarcin causes genetic instability, a hallmark of early apoptosis. Mensacarcin’s unique mode of action indicates it might represent a promising lead for the development of new anticancer drugs.” said Loesgen.

Natural product discoveries have contributed to development of several effective drug therapies. This development has the potential to provide hope for several melanoma patients, restoring a sense of well-being.


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