Novel Diagnostic and Prognostic Markers, and Therapeutic Targets for Melanoma
The incidence of melanoma is increasing at the highest rate for any form of cancer in the United States and the current lifetime risk in the US is 1 in 68. Presently there are few effective systemic therapies to treat advanced stages of melanoma and the key to improved survival in all affected individuals remains early diagnosis and treatment. Currently used methods for monitoring disease often reveal only grossly-detectable disease, which can be difficult to treat. There are no tests to accurately predict patient outcome for early stage disease and no blood tests that readily indicate disease recurrence/progression. JHU researchers have recently screened human melanoma cell lines from varying stages of malignant progression in order to identify molecular markers of tumor onset and progression. A series of genes were identified whose expression correlates with melanoma progression and invasion and the most highly upregulated melanoma progression marker is a secreted protein that is detectable in the circulating blood. This invention may allow for earlier detection of disease recurrence/progression and earlier treatment in patients with known previous diagnosis of melanoma and those at high risk for the development of melanoma. Description (Set) Proposed Use (Set) This invention may provide a simple and sensitive diagnostic/prognostic blood test to screen for melanoma onset/progression. In addition, many of these tumor markers may also be functionally significant for disease onset/progression and are likely to be relevant and drugable targets for the development of novel melanoma-specific therapeutics.
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