Italians discover cancer-blocking molecule

(ANSA) Italian researchers have discovered a molecule that may be a breakthrough in the fight against melanoma, or skin cancer, a report said Friday.

Scientists at Rome’s Catholic University have found that the molecule HINT1 both blocks the growth of tumorous cells and prevents the mutation of healthy ones in cases of melanoma.



Alessandro Sgambato headed the research team with collaborators from Columbia University and Harvard University in the United States. “We have shown that HINT1 is frequently deactivated in melanoma cells in humans, and its reactivation reduces the growth and the malignity of the tumor,” said Sgambato. The team, which published the findings in Cell Cycle magazine, believe the discovery may lead to life-saving pharmaceuticals, both against melanoma and perhaps other forms of cancer as well. Melanoma is a very aggressive type of tumor that represents the world’s leading cause of death in cases of skin cancer. Cases of melanoma have increased more than any other tumor in recent decades due to the growing popularity of tanning salons and heightened sun exposure, doctors say.

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