Researchers at Emory University in Atlanta have synthesized a novel molecule called indolium 1 that blocks the growth of melanoma cells, according to findings published in the journal Antioxidants.
Existing therapies that target the BRAF/MEK pathway to inhibit cancer cell growth can be effective. However, in many cases, advanced melanomas develop resistance to treatment. That prompted the Emory researchers to investigate alternative treatment pathways that have not been fully explored.
“Only about 15 to 20 per cent of melanomas respond to immunotherapy and targeted therapy, so there is an unmet need for new treatments,” said senior author Jack Arbiser, MD, PhD in a press release. “This novel compound works differently than any other therapies on the market and shows promise as a potential treatment for melanomas with poor prognostic features.”
Dr. Arbiser is Thomas J. Lawley Professor of Dermatology at Emory University School of Medicine and a member of the Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics research program at Winship Cancer Institute.
Indolium 1 is a compound in the triphenylmethane class, which previous studies have shown inhibit an enzyme that drives melanoma growth. The new findings have demonstrated that indolium 1 induces a tumour-suppressing gene, suggesting that additional research in humans is warranted.
“Further study of this compound is necessary before it can benefit individuals with advanced melanoma,” Dr. Arbiser said. “Our findings suggest that indolium 1, administered in sequence with existing therapies, could have significant implications for cancer patients.”