The Italian Almanac

Maria Teresa landi

Italian Science - July 3

An Italian researcher working in the United States has made a key advance in the study of the genetic causes of skin cancer. Maria Teresa Landi, a researcher at the National Cancer Institute, gleaned fresh genetic information on the skin-cell component that determines pigmentation, the melanocortin-1 receptor (MC1R).

"Up till now it was known that MC1R played a role in deciding skin colour," Landi told the prestigious US journal Science. "But now we have discovered that certain variants in the MC1R gene make it much more likely that certain types of melanomas will develop."

Landi worked with fellow researchers at the NCI in collaboration with gene scientists at the University of California. Much of her basic research was done at Cesena Hospital in northern Italy, where she worked with 85 skin-cancer patients.