Monday, June 6, 2011

Great News for Melanoma Patients

In case you have not seen the news this weekend from ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology annual seminar in Chicago), here is what the Wall Street Journal reported this morning:  "Major Shift in War on Cancer Drug Studies Focus on Genes of Individual Patients; Testing Obstacles Loom.  CHICAGO—New research is signaling a major shift in how cancer drugs are developed and patients are treated—offering the promise of personalized therapies that reach patients faster and are more effective than other medicines.  At the heart of the change: an emerging ability for researchers to use genetic information to match drugs to the biological drivers of tumors in individuals. Studies released at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology here are helping to support previous findings that personalized medicine—introduced more than a decade ago—is closer to being realized as a weapon to fight cancer.  "A pattern is developing at an accelerated pace where we are able to match genetic information about a tumor to a new agent and get results," says John Mendelsohn, president of Houston's MD Anderson Cancer Center."
“Another report featured results from an initiative at MD Anderson Cancer Center involving several experimental drugs in initial, or phase I, testing. Typically, phase I studies of cancer drugs test a single agent in patients to determine a maximum tolerable dose with the hope that a treatment effect might be seen in a couple of patients.  The MD Anderson program pooled 1,144 patients in a phase I study after profiling their tumors for mutations that might be targets of the tested drugs. Apostolia Tsimberidou, the researcher who led the study, reported that 40% had mutations in 10 molecular pathways that were targeted by the experimental compounds.  Tumors in 27% of those given agents that targeted their mutations responded to treatment compared to 5% for those with unmatched therapies.  Other researchers said such a high response rate in a phase I study was highly unusual and could help prompt other academic and corporate researchers to change their protocols to help speed the early-phase trials.  Such testing of patients is also moving into clinical practice thanks to plummeting costs of performing DNA sequencing that researchers use to identify patients' mutations.  Massachusetts General Hospital and MD Anderson Cancer Center are among institutions beginning to offer routine genetic profiling of tumors for every patient, moving into clinical practice a strategy reserved only for research just a year or two ago and unheard of a decade ago.”
Full article here and another article in the Journal "Two Melanoma Drugs Prolong Survival for Some Patients" on Ippi and the BRAF treatment can be found here.


  1. I saw this yesterday and thought of you - great news! And, by the way, you look like a badass with the new 'do!

  2. Amazing what's coming out now! My doc said that most melanoma before age 40 are linked to dna/genes, after 40 mostly environmental damage. Is that true? Last year Carli had a genome spectrum test for a certain syndrome. There were no obvious imbalances and we left it at that for now. New medicine and the options that are afforded us are mindblowing! Here's to more and more good news!

  3. Great News on the medical front! You can bet it was the result of clinical tests such as you are entered. Hurray to you and all others who are willing to be an active participant for the solution!!

    Your new looks should get you first in any line..Hollywood is waiting..
    Many Hugs

    Dad and Ursula

  4. These are great news, I heard it on tv as well.This is with all the ca's and it comes none too soon for many. Lets pray it works. Nice to know were some of the $$$ is going.
    Chin up and lots of hugs,