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Potential Tx to prevent melanoma metastasis identified

New findings from a research team led by investigators from the Medical University of Vienna, Austria, suggest that kinase inhibitors may have a role in metastasis-preventing treatment in cutaneous melanoma.

In the paper, published in PNAS (Nov. 14, 2023; 120(47):e2303978120), the authors note that while there have been advances in treating metastatic malignancies, therapeutically targeting the metastatic process has not yet been achieved. They also note there has been a lack of assays that facilitate the efficient screening of therapeutics that would interfere with the formation of invadopodia—one of the key features of metastasis.

The authors describe a new screening platform (Invasion-Block) and a custom-designed image analysis pipeline (Smoothern-Mask and Reveal, or S-MARVEL), and how they used the two systems to identify the potential of kinase inhibitors for inhibiting metastasis.

Side effects, resistance, and limited efficacy of targeted therapies and immunotherapeutics are the problems encountered in the treatment of metastatic melanoma despite enormous medical advances over the past 10 years, the authors note in a press release from the university. “In addition, there are still no drugs that directly target the metastatic ability of melanoma cells,” said study leaders Wolfgang Weninger, MD, and Shweta Tikoo, PhD, from the Medical University of Vienna's Department of Dermatology, describing the starting point for the research work. In their search for a treatment option that could not only combat the spread of cancer but even prevent it, the research team focused on the complex process of metastasis. They note a protein called F-actin is also involved in the process of invadopodia formation.

Researchers examined 4,000 already approved substances for their ability to virtually put a stop to the formation of invadopodia to prevent the spread of tumour cells.

“We identified kinase inhibitors as promising therapeutics,” said Dr. Tikoo, describing the findings.

“Our study has paved the way for the development of potential anti-metastatic drugs,” Drs. Weninger and Tikoo reported. Dr. Tikoo said she is convinced that “future research will focus on developing this option for therapeutically combating the metastasis of cutaneous melanomas.”


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