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NCI Cancer Center News

Multi-institute study finds gene inactivation drives spread of melanoma

  • Posted: June 12, 2012

A team led by UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers has identified a key genetic switch that determines whether melanoma, a lethal skin cancer, spreads by metastasis. In a paper published in the journal Cancer Cell, the team demonstrates that inactivating a gene called LKB1 (or STK11) causes non-aggressive melanoma cells to become highly metastatic when tested in a variety of models using tumors from humans and mice. Researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, and from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center also contributed to the finding.

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NCI comprehensive cancer centers logoAmong the research institutions NCI funds across the United States, it currently designates 66 as Cancer Centers. Largely based in research universities, these facilities are home to many of the NCI-supported scientists who conduct a wide range of intense, laboratory research into cancer’s origins and development. The Cancer Centers Program also focuses on trans-disciplinary research, including population science and clinical research. The centers’ research results are often at the forefront of studies in the cancer field.


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