Tadpoles may hold cancer clue

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Tadpoles could hold the key to developing effective skin cancer drugs according to researchers at the University of East Anglia.

The scientists have identified a compound which blocks the movement of the pigment cells that give the tadpoles their distinctive markings.

It is the uncontrolled movement of pigment cells that causes skin cancer in both humans and frogs.

The next step, the researchers say, is to test the compound in other animals.

The man-made compound, NSC 84093, was chosen out of a list of 3,000 which were screened to see if they affected the pigment cells.

It produced a distinct change in the colour markings on the tadpoles at very low concentrations.

The continuous stripe along the back of a wild tadpole was replaced by a pattern of individual blocks of colour.

The study is published in the journal, Chemistry & Biology.

Tadpoles
Top tadpole has normal markings. The one underneath has broken markings along back

Grant Wheeler, a developmental biologist and lead researcher at the University of East Anglia, said:

"Forty of the compounds gave us an interesting difference which we wanted to follow up."

"The reason we were able to look at so many compounds was because it's very easy to look at the embryos and see the colour change."

"The pigment cells are interesting for a number of reasons.

"The first is that the place where they develop is not where they end up - they move through the embryo in a process called cell migration."

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Fingers crossed, I have heard so many "this may hold cancer cure" and that may hold cancer cure over the years.. lets hope the tadpoles will do it :)
 
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