Wistar Study Targets Telomeres To Treat Resistant Melanoma

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Gao Zhang, Ph.D.
Staff scientist in the Herlyn Lab
The Wistar Institute

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: The past 7 years have witnessed the great success in treating patients with unresectable or metastatic melanoma. Despite the breakthrough of molecularly targeted therapies and immune checkpoint blockade therapies, a majority of patients have experienced the rapid tumor recurrence and progression, following the dramatic regression. There is an urgent and unmet need to treat therapy-resistant tumors.

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: 6-thio-dG is very potent and effective in prolonging the disease control of therapy-resistant tumors by inducing very specific telomere dysfunction, albeit the underlying molecular mechanisms of resistance are very heterogenous. 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: In addition to design rationale-based secondary therapy that is tailored to the individual patient’s tumor, it might be beneficial of targeting the universal signaling pathway that is activated in many cancer cells.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Ongoing work is paving the way to bring 6-thio-dG to clinical trials.  It will be important to identify biomarkers that predict patients’ responses to 6-thio-dG.  


Gao Zhang, Lawrence W Wu, ilgen Mender, Michal Barzily-Rokni, Marc R. Hammond, Omotayo Ope, Chaoran Cheng, Sergio Randell, Norah Sadek, Aurelie Beroard, Min Xiao, Tian Tian, Jiufeng Tan, Umar Saeed, Eric Sugarman, Clemens Krepler, Patricia A Brafford, Katrin Sproesser, Sengottuvelan Murugan, Rajasekharan Somasundaram, Bradley Garman, Bradley Wubbenhorst, Jonathan Woo, Xiangfan Yin, Qin Liu, Dennie T Frederick, Benchun Miao, Wei Xu, Giorgos C Karakousis, Xiaowei Xu, Lynn M. Schuchter, Tara C. Mitchell, Lawrence N. Kwong, Ravi K. Amaravadi, Yiling Lu, Genevieve Boland, Zhi Wei, Katherine L. Nathanson, Gordon B. Mills, Keith T. Flaherty, Jerry W Shay, Meenhard Herlyn, Themistoklis Vasilopoulos, Utz Herbig. Induction of Telomere Dysfunction Prolongs Disease Control of Therapy-Resistant Melanoma. Clinical Cancer Research, 2018; clincanres.2773.2017 DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-17-2773 

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Last Updated on March 24, 2018 by Marie Benz MD FAAD