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A drug that can stop tumors from growing

Eureka Alert

Cancer doctors may soon have a new tool for treating melanoma and other types of cancer, thanks to work being done by researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Center.

In a paper published in the journal PNAS last month, CU Cancer Center members Mayumi Fujita, MD, PhD, Angelo D’Alessandro, PhD, Morkos Henen, PhD, MS, Beat Vogeli, PhD, Eric Pietras, PhD, James DeGregori, PhD, Carlo Marchetti, PhD, and Charles Dinarello, MD, along with Isak Tengesdal, MS, a graduate student in the Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, detail their work on NLRP3, an intracellular complex that has been found to participate in melanoma-mediated inflammation, leading to tumor growth and progression. By inhibiting NLRP3, the researchers found, they can reduce inflammation and the resultant tumor expansion.

Specifically, NLRP3 promotes inflammation by inducing the maturation and release of interleukin-1-beta, a cytokine that causes inflammation as part of the normal immune response to infection. In cancer, however, inflammation can cause tumors to grow and spread.

“NLRP3 is a member of a larger family that is involved in sensing danger signals,” Marchetti says. “It is a receptor that surveils the intercellular compartment of a cell, looking for

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