Lifestyle Health and Wellbeing 14 Aug 2016 Source of cure for m ...

Source of cure for melanoma identified

DECCAN CHRONICLE. | ARCHANA RAVI
Published Aug 14, 2016, 6:51 am IST
Updated Aug 14, 2016, 7:28 am IST
Type of cancer that develops from pigment-containing cells known as melanocytes
Nishant Kumar, Chellappan Mohandas, Lekshmi R. Nath, Ruby John Anto
 Nishant Kumar, Chellappan Mohandas, Lekshmi R. Nath, Ruby John Anto

Thiruvananthapuram: A kind of bacteria, more famous as an insect killer, could be the source of a cure for melanoma. Also known as malignant melanoma, it is a type of cancer that develops from the pigment-containing cells known as melanocytes. Researchers at Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), in a collaborative project with the Centre for Tuber Crops Research Institute (CTCRI), has identified through in-vitro evaluation that a compound from bacillus cereus bacteria has anti-cancer efficacy.

If the compound 3,5-dihydroxy-4-ethyl-trans-stilbene (DETS) is successful in in-vivo tests (animal and clinical tests), it can be developed into a drug to treat melanoma. That it is isolated from bacteria is its advantage. RGCB scientist Ruby John Anto says, “resveratrol, a compound whose anti-cancer efficacy is comparable to that of DETS, is isolated from grapes. This means that its production will depend on the yield of grapes. In comparison, DETS can be easily isolated as bacteria can be cultured in the laboratory.”

 

The paper’s principal authors are Lekshmi R. Nath at RGCB and Nishant Kumar, who was at CTCRI when the institute’s collaborative study with RGCB on the bacteria started in 2008. At CTCRI, the study was spearheaded by Chellappan Mohandas and funded by KSCSTE and ICAR. The efficacy of DETS in inhibiting the growth of cervical, colon, liver, breast and skin cancer cells was noted. It showed best results with melanoma.

“Its effect on melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers was also compared. It arrested melanoma cells much better than non-melanoma cells,” says Lekshmi. The strain of bacteria, bacillus cereus, generally finds application as a biocontrol agent. For the worm that it is symbiotically associated with is an entomopathogenic nematode – a nematode which destroys insects. “The bacteria produces a unique metabolite, whose anti-microbial properties are being studied. However, there has been no study, to our knowledge, which explores its anti-cancer properties,” says Nishant Kumar.

 

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Location: India, Kerala




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