Study identifies a cause of melanoma treatment resistance

Source: Yale News, March 2019

A collaboration between researchers at Yale, the University of Massachusetts Medical School and the Vanderbilt Medical Center has determined a new cause of melanoma treatment resistance.

More than 50 percent of melanomas contain mutations in the BRAF gene, making BRAF the primary target of melanoma treatment. Thus, BRAF kinase inhibitors, or BRAFi, which block protein action, comprise the main approach to melanoma treatment. Published in the journal PNAS on Feb. 19, the study found that one form of resistance to these inhibitors is caused by the loss of a protein called Block of Proliferation 1.

“Recurrence and resistance are the two most important problems in melanoma therapy, which are what this research is trying to address. Acquired resistance is a very difficult problem. Drawing from these findings, we would ideally try to directly engage with patients who develop melanoma resistance,” said Romi Gupta, first author and pathology researcher at the Yale School of Medicine.

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