Progress against melanoma

Friday, March 25, 2011 - 13:30 in Health & Medicine

Harvard stem cell researchers at Children’s Hospital Boston (CHB) have taken two important steps toward development of a new way of treating melanoma, the most virulent form of skin cancer. In two letters featured on the cover of this week’s edition of the journal Nature, the researchers, led by Leonard Zon, chairman of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute’s (HSCI) governing committee and a professor in the University’s Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology (SCRB), report isolating a gene that hastens the growth of melanoma tumors, and using an already-approved drug, in combination with a drug now working its way through the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process, to uncover new potential therapeutic targets in melanoma. Zon, who is also the Grousbeck Professor of Pediatrics at CHB and who heads the hospital’s stem cell program, said his group is now waiting for FDA approval of a drug that blocks the...

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