Cross-species Cancer comparison to discover New drug
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Cross-species Cancer comparison to discover New drug

By Pharma Tech Outlook | Thursday, April 04, 2019

Cross-species CancerMucosal melanoma is the rare and poorly understood subtype of melanoma. Scientists at the Wellcome Sanger Institute and their collaborators have started their research to identify the cancer genes in mucosal melanoma. For this, they have used similar genetic mutation found in tri-species such as human, dogs, and horses to pinpoint essential cancer genes.

Melanoma, cancer that commonly occurs in the skin, but its subtype called mucosal melanoma always arises in non-skin locations includes nasal passages, mouth, and sinuses. Oral melanoma found in dogs is more common when compared with human, and it also has a poor prognosis. When it comes to the horse, the melanoma is less aggressive. Presently, the risk factors for this cancer in humans are unknown, but the primary treatment to treat this problem in all species is the surgical removal of tumors.

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It was the first study to start comparing the cancer genomes across human, equine, and canine tumors, the first to sequence study of this scale on dog melanoma and the first sequencing horse tumors. During the research, the team sequenced the genomics data from 65 dogs, 46 humans, and 28 horses. This means various equine and canine samples have contributed to the study by Wood (Professor at the University of Guelph in Canada) and Companion Animal Tumour Sample Bank.

Immunotherapy (stimulate in the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells) has been used generally to treat the people affected with melanoma, but this is not efficient for the people with mucosal melanoma. The reason is also unpredictable. The researchers now understand that mucous melanoma cancer cells are carrying few mutations than skin melanoma and it is reasonable to remain hidden to the immune system. The study finally comes to the closure; the cancer is different in horses, as it does not spread unlike in humans and dogs. This key mutation is likely to drive cancer and could be the target to develop new drugs.

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The study shows the significance of understanding the similarities and the differences in the genetics of cancer cells across various species; thus more biological relevant drug targets have set-up.

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