Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

Now in our 11th year of bringing you beautiful imagery from biomedical science every day

Berry Good

A compound from coralberry has promise for treating a form of eye cancer

22 April 2019

Berry Good

Compounds from plants have already inspired many medicines, yet researchers are still discovering new applications for them. The small protein FR900359, or FR, is produced by coralberry (Ardisia crenata, pictured) as a defence against insect herbivores, but it could also help treat the most common type of eye cancer. Uveal melanoma is linked to mutations in genes encoding sections of G proteins, which cycle between inactive and active states in response to other signals, and control many metabolic pathways. The mutations essentially keep the G proteins constantly active, causing cells to multiply uncontrollably. FR can bind to these G protein sections to keep them inactive, even in their mutated forms, and tests on cultured cells and tumours in mice suggest this can stop the growth of melanomas. While a promising result, G proteins have many important roles, so precisely targeting cancerous cells would be critical for any treatments involving FR.

Written by Emmanuelle Briolat

Search The Archive

Submit An Image

What is BPoD?

BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences the website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biomedicine. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

Read More

BPoD is also available in Catalan at with translations by the University of Valencia.