Barcelona (EFE).- Ranolazine, a drug currently used in heart conditions, improves the efficacy of current therapies for the treatment of melanoma in mice, according to research published in the scientific journal Nature Metabolism.
These results have been obtained in a multicenter investigation in which the Navarrabiomed biomedical research center in Pamplona (Navarra), the CSIC-UHM Institute of Neurosciences, in Sant Joan d’Alacant (Alicante) and IRB Barcelona have participated. in the Catalan capital, as reported this Thursday in a joint statement.
The results of the study point towards a therapeutic alternative to treat melanoma, the most lethal type of skin cancer that affects 16.3 women and 14.6 men per 100,000 inhabitants in Spain.
Ranolazine and its action in cancer patients
The use of ranolazine, approved for use in humans and already administered in clinical practice to treat chronic angina, could favor the development of future clinical trials to validate and confirm its action in cancer patients.
Patients with melanoma respond well in most cases to therapies directed against one of the key genes in tumor progression -the BRAF gene-, although they soon develop resistance to these treatments and the tumors grow again.
In addition, the latest clinical studies suggest that these patients respond worse to immunotherapy.
The research has provided in-depth knowledge of the role of fatty acid metabolism in the development of resistance to BRAF inhibitors and has made it possible to demonstrate the action of ranolazine in slowing down tumor progression.
Melanoma cells, more visible thanks to the drug
The application of this drug allows melanoma cells to be more visible to the immune system, since it improves the response to immunotherapies and increases the ability of lymphocytes to control tumor growth.
The research has been coordinated from Navarrabiomed by Dr. Imanol Arozarena Martinicorena, head of the Cancer Signaling Unit, and is part of the doctoral thesis by the Public University of Navarra of Marta Redondo Muñoz, a researcher from the same group.
In the year 2022, 7,500 new cases of cutaneous melanoma were diagnosed in Spain and worldwide this type of cancer accounts for 3.4% of the total cancer cases detected.
Melanoma is responsible for 90% of deaths from skin tumors
Despite representing only 10% of skin cancer cases, melanoma is responsible for 90% of deaths in relation to skin tumors.
Navarrabiomed has designed and developed the course of all the research, as well as carrying out the experiments related to resistance to targeted therapies and the study of how ranolazine affects the immunogenicity of melanoma cells.
Immunotherapy trials with mice and the study of immune cells in the tumor microenvironment have been developed at the Institute of Neurosciences.
On the other hand, individual cell RNA sequencing analyzes have been carried out at IRB Barcelona, which have made it possible to find out in detail the effect of ranolazine on the metabolic state of tumor cells.
The study has been possible thanks to the institutional support and funding granted by various organizations, such as the Ministry of Science and Innovation, the Carlos III Health Institute, the Government of Navarra, the Spanish Multidisciplinary Melanoma Group (GEM) and Melanoma Research. Alliance.