Research into the genetic causes of malignant melanoma

Signalling in malignant melanoma cells

Autumn 2009

£61,237 for a 1 year research project into the genetic causes of malignant melanoma by the School of Biological Sciences at UEA.

It’s well known that people with fair skin, freckles and red hair are more susceptible to skin cancer. Such people don’t produce as much melanin pigment in their skin, which protects against UV rays.  The gene responsible for the freckles, fair skin and red hair is called MC1R.  Particular variants of this gene are linked to increased risk of malignant melanoma, independently of their effects on skin colour.

This pilot project sets out to investigate whether the variant forms of MC1R “talk” to proteins on the cell surface differently from the normal version, and so stimulate the growth of melanoma cells.

This will lay the groundwork for further studies in the area of melanoma, whose incidence is increasing dramatically.

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