Mucosal melanoma, a rare subtype of melanoma, has been detected in horses, dogs and humans; a new study has found key genes that will help create new cancer therapies. Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute and colleagues from multiple other institutes studied 28 horse, 45 human and 65 dog melanomas, and were able to identify specific mutated genes in all species.
Mucosal melanoma is not related to ultraviolet light though it arises in cells that produce pigment. There is also no connection to family history. The main treatment modality is surgical removal of the tumor.
Dr. David Adams noted that mucosal melanoma tumors don't elicit an immune response from the affected body as they carry few mutations. The identification of these mutations could allow for focused drugs to be developed.
This was the first study of this scale to be conducted on dog tumors and the first of its kind using equine tumors. This type of cancer typically affects grey horses; unlike humans and dogs, the cancer does not tend to spread in horses.
Researchers say that this study is important to show the genetic similarities and differences in cancers in multiple species, and will allow scientists to create more-targeted drugs to combat the disease.
Read more at HorseTalk.
Read the full study here.
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