A Place for Hope

 

An option when BRAF inhibitors stop working

October 01, 2013

For patients with BRAF-mutant melanoma, the BRAF inhibitors dabrafenib and trametinib can cause melanoma tumors to shrink rapidly, but these improvements last for about 6 months on average, after which the cancer typically begins to grow again. Research suggests that abnormal activity in another tumor growth circuit called PI3K may help BRAF-inhibitor resistant tumors to grow.

 


 

Seeking synergy against BRAF mutant melanoma brain metastases

October 01, 2013

Historically, melanoma brain metastases have been associated with a very poor prognosis. A recent study showed that the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib can cause BRAF mutant melanoma brain metastases to regress. Additional studies suggest that adding focused radiation or the MEK inhibitor trametinib to dabrafenib can help to eradicate melanoma cells and, potentially, to keep melanoma patients healthy for longer.

 


 

Gene therapy for melanoma

October 01, 2013

The immune system uses chemical called cytokines to bring immune cells to areas of infection or cancer and to stimulate this immune cells to fight these threats. Dr. Daud and his colleagues have developed a unique approach to fighting melanoma by making the melanoma tumors themselves generate one of the cytokines that stimulates immune response. This is done by injecting a small amount of DNA for the cytokine into a melanoma tumor on the skin and then using electricity to get the cancer cells to absorb this DNA.

 


 

PD-1 antibody trials

October 01, 2013

Our immune systems are very careful to fight against dangers such as infections without fighting normal, healthy parts of our bodies. When it comes to cancer, our immune systems will often start to fight the tumor, but the brakes on the immune response may make the anti-tumor response ineffective. PD-1 antibodies take the brakes off of the immune response against melanoma, and the results have been dramatic in some patients.

 


 

Targeting recurrence in stage 3 BRAF mutant melanoma 

October 01, 2013

Melanoma starts in melanocytes, cell in our skin that make skin color. When melanoma is removed early, the chance of cure is usually excellent, but if its not removed, it grows thicker and it can spread to nearby lymph nodes (stage 3 melanoma). While surgery can still cure melanoma that has spread to nearby lymph nodes, the chance is high that some of the melanoma will escape surgery leading to recurrence, more widespread recurrence, and even death.