CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Metamark
Genetics, Inc., a privately-held oncology-focused molecular
diagnostics company, today announced results from a melanoma study
published in Cancer Cell. The study describes the
identification and functional characterization of proteins that
confer metastatic and invasive properties to early stage primary
melanomas, the most deadly form of skin cancer in humans. The
studies were conducted in the laboratories of Metamark Scientific
Founders Lynda Chin, M.D., and Ron DePinho, M.D., from the Belfer
Institute for Applied Sciences and Dana Farber Cancer Institute,
and David Rimm, M.D., Ph.D. of Yale University.
“The findings from this study represent an important milestone
in our efforts to predict whether or not an early melanoma lesion
will eventually progress to metastatic and deadly disease,” said
Dr. Chin. “Moreover, since these proteins are functionally involved
in the tumor progression, they are also potential drug target
Melanoma is a form a cancer that originates in pigment-forming
cells, or melanocytes, and is most commonly found in the skin where
it typically arises from moles. In the United States alone, there
were 68,130 new cases of melanoma last year, and approximately
8,700 deaths from the disease.
Cancer Cell study investigators utilized a novel approach
that involved integrating results from refined, genetically
engineered mouse models with human cancer data and subsequent
functional studies. The researchers were able to identify and
validate six genes that are crucial for invasion and metastatic
behavior of cutaneous melanomas.
“We believe that these findings significantly contribute to our
molecular understanding of malignant melanoma with the potential to
improve methods of defining prognosis and selection of optimal
treatment strategies for patients with this disease,” said Dr.
Chin. “Our functional studies show that these proteins