Friday, October 29, 2010

Ferris Professor Searches for Cause of Melanoma

To further explore the cause of melanoma, Ferris State University’s Dr. James D. Hoerter was recently awarded a three-year grant from the National Institute of Health. With the assistance of students and a set of genes found in zebrafish, Hoerter will set out to try and solve the puzzle presented by the deadliest form of human skin cancer: Melanoma.

“While in Ireland on a Fulbright Fellowship, I became fascinated with using zebrafish to study the role of stem cells in the development of melanoma,” Hoerter, professor of Biology, said. “The genes controlling stem cells in the skin are almost identical to humans. I knew this was the perfect way to determine how adult stem cells are damaged by the harmful rays of the sun. When I got back to Ferris, I immediately started to lay the groundwork for this project; I knew that it was one of the best research ideas I’d had in years.”

Hoerter explained that incidences of melanoma continue to rise in the United States, with more than 60,000 diagnoses and 8,000 lives claimed each year. The grant will allow him to make advances toward discovering the cause of melanoma, he said.

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1 comment:

  1. A recent Australian Public Health television campaign showing graphic depictions of melanoma has awakened community interest in skin cancer. Whilst I applaud the efforts of the Government to raise awareness of this subject, it is important not to become fearful and to consider a balanced view to the facts on melanoma, tanning and sunscreen usage.

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