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Investigating a potential new druggable target in cancer cells

  • Researcher: Professor Amparo Cano
  • Institution: University of Madrid, Spain
  • Award Amount: £202,556 for 3 years from 1st January 2016
  • Cancer Type: Skin Cancer
Investigating a potential new druggable target in cancer cells
Melanoma is the most aggressive type of skin cancer. When diagnosed at an advanced stage, it means a poorer outcome for patients and new treatments are urgently needed. Professor Cano is investigating the role of LOXL3 proteins in melanoma.

She explains “Members of the lysyl oxidase (LOX) family of proteins, including LOX and LOXL2 have previously been implicated in cancer progression and metastasis (spread) of several cancers. But little is known about the role of Lox members in melanoma.

Our initial studies indicate that over-expression (increased switching on) of LOX3 is specifically linked to melanoma cell lines and melanoma primary and metastatic tumours. Moreover, an association of LOXL3 with mutations in BRAF/NRAS (the main activating mutations found in melanoma patients) has been found in melanoma cell lines.

The main aim of this project is to establish the role of LOXL3 in the initiation and malignant progression of melanoma. We want to unravel the underlying molecular mechanisms of LOXL3 action and explore the potential of LOXL3 as a new druggable target. We hope our studies can stir an interest in developing LOXL3 inhibitors that might be potentially beneficial for patients when combined with established RAS/BRAF/ERK pathway inhibitors.”

She concluded “This project is really exciting to us because it means that we can test if in vitro data on LOXL3 involvement in melanoma obtained from basic research can be translated to the melanoma patients in the near future through the design of new drugs to target LOXL3.”
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