Newswise — Inhibition of the cellular enzyme thymine DNA glycosylase (TDG) may be an effective treatment for melanoma, according to research published in the journal Oncogene in January. The paper, “Thymine DNA glycosylase as a novel target for melanoma,” describes how inhibition of TDG, known for its role in cell repair and proliferation, may be used to trigger cell death of cancerous melanoma cells and halt tumor growth.  

“These findings suggest that TDG may provide critical functions specific to cancer cells that make it highly suitable as an anti-melanoma drug target,” said senior author Alfonso Bellacosa, MD, PhD, professor of cancer epigenetics at Fox Chase Cancer Center at Temple University. “By potentially disrupting both DNA repair and the epigenetic state, targeting TDG may represent a completely new approach to melanoma therapy.”

Researchers at the Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) and the Sbarro Institute for Cancer Research, directed by Antonio Giordano, MD, PhD, also contributed to the study at Temple University. Scientists at SHRO assisted with statistical analysis of animal model data used in the study, among other things.  

“This is an important study that may lead to the identification of powerful TDG inhibitors for pre-clinical and clinical studies,” said Giordano. “A few pharmaceutical companies have already shown a lot of interest and enthusiasm towards this approach.”  

The research was conducted by lead authors Pietro Mancuso, PhD, and Rossella Tricarico, PhD, in Bellacosa’s lab at Fox Chase Cancer Center, with a team of international collaborators including scientists at the Curie Institute, France, and at the University of Siena, Italy, where Mancuso was recently awarded the prestigious title of Doctor Europæus.

“This study highlights the mission of SHRO to support junior investigators from Italy,” added Giordano. “This research was the PhD thesis of Pietro Mancuso, who I have had the privilege to co-mentor at the University of Siena, along with Prof. Bellacosa at Fox Chase, and Prof. Larue at the Curie Institute,” concluded Giordano.  

To read more about the study, visit

About the Sbarro Health Research Organization

The Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO) is non-profit charity committed to funding excellence in basic genetic research to cure and diagnose cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other chronic illnesses and to foster the training of young doctors in a spirit of professionalism and humanism. To learn more about the SHRO please visit