New Melanoma Treatments From A Gecko
Steve Sykes purchased a pair of “lemon frost” geckos in 2015 for a whopping price of $10,000. After breeding the male gecko, he noticed that the offspring had small, white tumors growing on their skin. After closer inspection, he realized that 80% of the geckos had skin cancer. This skin cancer arises from pigment-producing cells called iridophores. According to Smithsonian Mag, “Guo and his team found a gene called SPINT1, which is linked to skin cancer in humans and is also responsible for both the geckos’ golden glow and their tumors. Studying SPINT1 further could help scientists better understand how certain cancers develop in humans—and perhaps lead to new ways to treat the illness.”
This is an incredible finding of one of the most heartbreaking scientific mysteries out there, and that’s cancer. If we could find a way to cure cancer using these geckos, then we could be well on our way to finding a cure for many types of cancer. Another path for a future study, too, involves studying the geckos who never went on to develop cancer and see why their genes skip the mutation/ A genome researcher at the University of Otago, Lara Urban, said, “I do think it will have an impact on cancer research, in that we understand the conservedness of this [SPINT1 genetic] pathway a little bit better now. It will also be a potential new model organism for studying the development of skin cancer and contributing to actual therapeutic development.” Let’s see what the future holds because it’s looking pretty bright (Smithsonian Mag).