Melanoma and other Skin Cancers

Skin cancers are cancers that originate in the skin and consist of abnormal cells that can invade or spread to other parts of the body. There are more cases of skin cancers than of any other cancer type, and most (>90%) are caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation. The three main types of skin cancers are basal-cell skin cancer (BCC), squamous-cell skin cancer (SCC) and melanoma.

Here in the Charles Institute we currently focus on the cell biologic and molecular biologic events that regulate the development and behaviour of the most aggressive form of skin cancer - Melanoma.’

Melanoma (Tobin & Kiel Labs)

Melanoma is the most serious skin cancer and Ireland has the highest rate of deaths in Europe from this cancer ( Almost 11,000 new melanoma cases are diagnosed per year in Ireland. While primary melanoma can be managed by surgery, the advanced malignant and metastatic melanoma require new and better therapeutic approaches that are based on a detailed understanding of the underlying molecular pathogenesis of malignant melanoma. Melanoma develop from an uncontrolled growth of pigmented cells (melanocytes) in the epidermis.

The correct functioning of healthy melanocytes relies on communication networks between proteins responsible for sensing and transmitting signals. Mutations found in malignant melanoma corrupt these networks. Determining the faults and how they scramble biological control mechanisms allows the design of new diagnostic tests and therapeutic interventions that restore normal control.