Icelandic Scientists Contribute to Fight against Cancer Skip to content

Icelandic Scientists Contribute to Fight against Cancer

Scientists at the BioMedical Center (BMC) of the University of Iceland under the lead of Eiríkur Steingrímsson, a professor at the medical department, have identified the parts of a master regulator which plays a key part the formation of melanoma.

landspitali-hallgrimskirkja_fall_domReykjavík and the Landspítali National University Hospital. Photo by Dagbjört Óddny Matthíasdóttir.

Their work, which was covered in one of the world’s most respected journals in the field of biomedicine, Genes & Development, is considered an important milestone towards finding a cure for this type of cancer, Fréttablaðið reports.

The abstract reads:

“Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) is a master regulator of melanocyte development and an important oncogene in melanoma…

Here, we determined the crystal structure of MITF in its apo conformation and in the presence of two related DNA response elements, the E-box and M-box. In addition, we investigated mouse and human MITF mutations to dissect the functional significance of structural features…

Our analysis unravels how these proteins discriminate between similar target sequences. Our data provide a rational basis for targeting MITF in the treatment of important hereditary diseases and cancer.”

Melanoma can prove fatal if not diagnosed in time and three out of every four deaths caused by skin cancer can be traced back to melanoma.

Click here to read the article in Genes & Development.


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