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Pine bark substance could be potent melanoma drug

A substance that comes from pine bark is a potential source for a new treatment of melanoma, according to Penn State College of Medicine researchers.

Current melanoma drugs targeting single proteins can initially be effective, but resistance develops relatively quickly and the disease recurs. In those instances, resistance usually develops when the cancer cell’s circuitry bypasses the protein that the drug acts on, or when the cell uses other pathways to avoid the point on which the drug acts.

Penn State researchers screened 480 natural compounds and identified leelamine, derived from the bark of pine trees, as a drug that can cause a major traffic jam in the cancer cell’s circuitry.

Leelamine could be the first of a new unique class of drugs that will simultaneously target several protein pathways. Researchers found that this drug shuts down multiple protein pathways at the same time in melanoma cells. These pathways are involved in the development of up to 70% of melanomas. 

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Image credit: Penn State

 

Posted Date: June 12, 2014

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