Study Reveals Restricting Cilia Formation Develops Aggressive Melanoma

Source: Morgan Newspaper, January 2019

Cilium is a slender cell protuberance that picks up signals from the cell’s external environment. Majority of human cells contain this slender cell protuberance. Now researchers from University of Zurich suggest that these fine cilium plays a key role in the formation of melanoma. Restraining development of cilia in benign pigment cells leads to cell degeneration, eventually developing an aggressive form of melanoma in humans.  Despite immunotherapies, it is observed that there are still many melanoma patients awaiting efficient cure. These patients often suffer a recurrence of the disease following immunotherapies in later years. The research led by Lukas Sommer, professor at the Institute of Anatomy at UHZ began with an aim to understand the tumor’s biology that can boost novel therapeutic approaches. The team revealed that along with genetic causes such as mutations in the DNA, epigenetic factors are highly responsible for formation and spread of melanoma. Although epigenetic factors do not directly influence the gene sequence, they affected the extent of certain gene transcription in the cells. The EZH2 protein hardly found in benign cells was evident in melanoma cells and extensively affected melanoma formation. The research was published in the online journal Cell Cancer on June 28, 2018.

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