The aim of this research network is identifying specific mechanisms of regulation of cellular signaling pathways and transcriptional control in malignant melanoma and their validation in functional models of melanoma progression. These findings will lead to new molecular therapeutic attempts to treat melanoma, which will be transferable also to other tumors.

This research network is concentrating on transcriptional regulation and signaling pathways in malignant melanoma. We believe that deregulation in these basic regulatory mechanisms is causal for melanoma development and metastasis formation. Increased knowledge about the basis for the deregulation will lead to the development of new therapeutic options. The fundamental role of gene transcription and the recognition of transcription factors as important control elements of cell growth, differentiation, programmed cell death (apoptosis), migration and intrinsic immunity can lead to a new understanding of tumor development and progression. Changes in transcriptional regulation represent an early event in tumorigenesis either controlled by the tumor microenvironment or by mutations or modifications in the cell itself. This is a highly up-to date topic as just recently changes like mutation in B-RAF were identified in a high percentage of melanomas. This resulted up to now in a multitude of clinical studies using B-RAF inhibitors. Unfortunately, these studies were not very successful until now, mainly due to the limited knowledge about the molecular basis of the deregulated signaling pathways. Therefore, there is an urgent need to understand the basic molecular mechanisms of melanoma development and progression. In this consortium we intend to analyze transcriptional regulators and signaling pathways in close cooperation but from different angles, based on the expertise of the individual partners. We strongly believe that this synergistic approach will lead to the identification of central regulators of melanoma development and metastatic dissemination. Identification of such key players will sustain our understanding not only of deregulated proliferation and migration but also of anti-tumor activity of the immune system, the reactive tumor stroma, and the impact of UV light on melanocyte biology.

The aims of the network are 

  • to contribute to the identification of molecular mechanisms of melanoma development and progression,
  • the identification and characterization of signaling pathways and transcriptional regulators relevant in melanoma,
  • the development of innovative, stratified therapeutic options based on molecular changes in melanoma.

As these goals can only be achieved by the cooperation of established and experienced groups the network was founded.

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