A new target for melanoma: ALDH1

The immunotherapy consists in one of the major developments of the pharmaceutical industry. Thanks to the continuing investment in research is how they discovered about certain molecules, genes or chemical process that modify the way some cells works and lead to the malignant phenotype.

Cutaneous melanoma is an aggressive disease, which accounts for the most lethal skin cancer deaths. Scientists found that melanoma cells present an aberrant redox state that leads to the production of toxic aldehydes that must be converted into less reactive molecules. Targeting the detoxification machinery constitutes a novel therapeutic target for melanoma. There was a study that used 56 cell lines representing nine different tumor types. In order to demonstrate what was the role of one molecule known as Aldehyde dehydrogenase 1 (ALDH1) in the development of melanoma, the scientist leading that study demonstrated that melanoma cells exhibited a strong correlation between ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) amounts and activity of the enzyme ALDH1. Specifically, they found that ALDH1A3 is upregulated by epigenetic mechanisms in melanoma cells, compared to normal melanocytes. Moreover, the relationship with the melanoma development was that they observed that the ALDH1 is highly expressed in a large percentage of melanomas during melanocyte transformation, which is consistent with the data from the TCGA, CCLE, and protein databases. In addition, the melanoma treatment with isoforms-specific ALDH1 inhibitors promoted the accumulation of apoptogenic aldehydes leading to apoptosis and tumor growth inhibition in mouse models. Those findings suggested that the aldehyde detoxification is a relevant metabolic mechanism in melanoma cells, which can be used as a novel approach for melanoma treatment (Pérez-Alea et al., 2017).

Also, because the immunotherapies used affect our immune system, it is often to see adverse events such as fever, exanthema, pruritus, among other side effects that could be mediated by our natural defenses. When you run a clinical trial in which cancer patients are included, it is important to do the follow up visits, set a strong relationship with the patient, so you can be aware of every symptom, or disease that could affect the health of the patient. Moreover, it is necessary to have enough experience to treat such cases and to manage those complicated situations. Every step of the clinical trial needs to be carefully followed. Please contact us and you will be able to see our experience running these complicated clinical trials.