IGIB discovers a protein regulating melanoma growth, pigmentation

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Researchers at Delhi’s CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) have for the first time identified a calcium sensor protein (STIM1) that independently regulates both skin cancer and pigmentation. The STIM1 protein does so by activating two independent signalling pathways.

Interestingly, different parts of the STIM1 protein activate the two independent signalling pathways that control melanoma growth and pigmentation. This opens up the possibility of developing drug molecules that target specific sites in the STIM1 protein to control tumour growth and regulate pigmentation.

While skin cancers account for third highest number of cancer associated deaths worldwide, perturbations in pigmentation pathways result in pigmentation disorders such as solar lentigo, melasma, vitiligo, and pityriasis alba. Current therapeutic regimes are not efficient in alleviating pigmentation disorders.

Role of STIM1

“The role of STIM1 in breast cancer and prostrate cancer is already known. Based on this, we hypothesised that STIM1 might have a role in melanoma growth as well,” says Dr. Rajender K Motiani from the Systems Biology Group at IGIB who led the team of researchers.

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